People with Type 2 diabetes who are unable to control their blood sugar levels despite multiple daily insulin injections may benefit from using an insulin pump, according to a new Albany Medical Center study published in the journal Endocrine Practice. This study adds to a growing body of research on treating Type 2 diabetes with insulin pumps.
Until recently, insulin pumps, small pumps attached to the body to deliver insulin, have been more commonly used to treat Type 1 diabetes patients, who do not produce any insulin at all. Most patients with Type 2 diabetes, who produce insufficient amounts of insulin, are able to control their blood sugar levels with oral medication or one or two daily insulin injections.
Insulin is needed to prevent the build-up of glucose in the bloodstream.
“During the past decade, there has been more interest in insulin pumps, which can provide a more controlled delivery of insulin than injections, for people with Type 2 diabetes who have progressed to the point where blood sugar levels cannot be managed even with multiple daily injections of insulin. Our study shows the pump is a viable option in these cases,” said Matthew Leinung, MD, chief of the endocrinology division and author of the study.
The study evaluated the charts of 57 patients with Type 2 diabetes, ages 13-71, who were given insulin pumps after multiple daily insulin injections failed to control their diabetes. “Insulin pumps are more consistent and more precise than syringes or injection pens, so they seem to be better able to control difficult Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Leinung.
Previous research on the benefits of insulin pumps for people with Type 2 diabetes has been mixed, with some research showing no clear benefit when pump users were directly compared to those using oral medication and injections. Dr. Leinung acknowledged that while this study is relatively small, it adds to a growing body of research on the subject.