INSULIN PUMPS ARE significantly more effective at controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes who have to take multiple daily insulin injections, according to a study published in The Lancet.
Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled by diet and medication, but most people with advanced disease also end up needing insulin therapy to achieve control of their blood sugar.
Roughly a third of these patients struggle to achieve the right level of blood sugar control with insulin injections many times a day. The growing obesity epidemic is adding to the problem by leading to greater insulin resistance.
The largest international study to examine the safety and effectiveness of the pumps to treat type 2 diabetes found that insulin pumps — portable devices attached to the body — prove better for sufferers with the disease.
The pumps deliver constant amounts of rapid or short acting insulin via a catheter placed under the skin. The study found that previous randomised trials comparing the efficacy of insulin pump therapy and multiple injections in people with type 2 diabetes have not provided consistent evidence, and the benefits of pump therapy continue to be debated.
The study involved 495 adults aged between 30 and 75 years old who had poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. The trial had a two month run-in period, where their insulin multiple daily injection treatment was optimised.
After the run-in phase, the 331 participants whose glycated haemoglobin — an indicator of blood sugar control over the past 2 or 3 months — remained above the target range between 8% and 12% were randomly assigned to pump therapy or to continue with multiple injections.
The pumps proved better on many levels, found the report.
For those that used the pumps there was a signifcantly greater reduction in blood sugar levels and twice as many patients also reached the target range of 8% or less using the pump therapy.
Patients who used the pump also spent on average almost three hours less every day in hyperglycaemia, which is when the blood sugar becomes too high.
The lead professor on the study, Professor Yves Reznik from the University of Caen Côte de Nacre Regional Hospital Center, Caen in France said that the pump system could prove better for individuals who are failing on current injection regimens and may also provide “improved convenience, reducing the burden of dose tracking and scheduling and decreasing insulin injection omissions”.