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Insulin Pumps vs. Insulin Injections for Type 1 Children

Aug 28, 2013

Insulin pumps may be more effective at lowering blood glucose levels and associated with fewer complications than insulin injections in children…. 

A study by Cooper et al. looked at 345 young patients on insulin pump therapy, who were matched to the same number of controls on insulin injections. Participants were between the ages of 2-19 years and had a history of diabetes ranging from 6 months to 15 ½ years. Both treatment groups started with the same HbA1c levels. During follow-up treatment, those on the insulin pump displayed an improved HbA1c level, with a 0.6% decrease from the last measurement. This improved HbA1c remained consistent throughout the follow-up period of the study.

Individuals in the pump therapy group also demonstrated fewer cases of hypoglycemia than those in the injection control group. The number of hypoglycemic episodes in the pump therapy group decreased from 14.7 to 7.2 events per 100 patients per year, while in the injection group it increased from 6.8 to 10.2 events per 100 patients per year. Furthermore, the rate of hospital admission among the patients for diabetic ketoacidosis was less in the pump group than in the injection group.

Of the 345 patients that were in the pump therapy group, 38 stopped using this device because they either did not like its public visibility, it required more attention, or they were simply taking a break.

According to the authors of the study, "Insulin pump therapy provides an improvement in glycemic control which is sustained for at least seven years." This was especially evident in children with poorly controlled diabetes.

Cooper et al. A population-based study of risk factors for severe hypoglycaemia in a contemporary cohort of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2013. Abstract.