Controlling blood sugar with a pump?

According to one trial in France, insulin pumps perform better than multiple daily insulin injections for people who have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.

“Our findings open up a valuable new treatment option for those individuals [who are] failing on current injection regimens,” HealthDay News quoted author of the OpT2mise study, Yves Reznik, from the University of Caen Cote de Nacre Regional Hospital Center saying.

Reznik believes the use of pumps may provide improved convenience, reduce the burden of dose tracking and scheduling and decrease insulin injection omissions.

“Insulin pumps are already used as an effective treatment option for people living with type 1 diabetes, but this study suggests the technology may also benefit people who are having difficulty managing type 2 diabetes as well,” said Diabetes NSW Head of Education and Health Services, Kristen Hazelwood.

While diet and exercise can help people manage type 2 diabetes, because of its progressive nature, many need to take regular medication for the rest of their lives, Ms Hazelwood added.

Provided appropriate healthcare support is available and the people with type 2 diabetes are correctly identified as targets who will get the most out of using an insulin pump, the findings could impact the way many people living with type 2 diabetes manage their type 2 diabetes and lead to very positive results.

“Approximately one third of people taking insulin have difficulty keeping their blood sugar at the correct levels which may mean they need more frequent insulin injections throughout the day,” Kristen said.

Researchers found that after six months people using the pumps had considerably greater reduction in their average blood sugar levels than those who had multiple daily injections. Participants also spent almost three hours less per day in a state of hypoglycaemia – when blood sugars become too high, which can lead to nerve damage resulting in pain or tingling in the fingers, toes, arms and/or legs.

“The pumps are small, are attached to your body and deliver constant amounts of rapid or short-acting insulin through a catheter – which is a small tube – which goes under your skin,” Kristen said.

Medtronic – a medical device maker – funded the international study which included 331 participants aged 30 to 75 years old with poorly managed type 2 diabetes.

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