Largest study to date compares insulin pump to injections for type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Insulin pumps outperform injections for difficult to control type 2 diabetes
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In one of the largest studies to date researchers writing in the Lancet report insulin pumps could be a better treatment option for poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, compared to taking multiple insulin injections daily.

Insulin pump better for uncontrolled diabetes in several areas

The large study, the OpT2mise trial, enrolled 495 adults aged 30-75 years with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and on multiple daily insulin injections.

After two months of insulin therapy using injections, 331 people with diabetes with hemoglobin A1C levels greater than 8 were switched from injections to an insulin pump.

The insulin pump performed better in the following areas:

  • Improved blood sugar levels at 6 months compared to taking multiple insulin injections shown by HbA1C difference of -0.7%
  • Twice as many people reached target HbA1C level of less than 8 or better compared to those taking insulin injections. The difference was 55 percent of people using the pump vs 28 percent of the multiple injection group.
  • The insulin pump group spent 3 hours less a day with high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia.

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The study showed no difference in time spent with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia between the two groups.

Professor Yves Reznik from the University of Caen Côte de Nacre Regional Hospital Center, Caen, France said in a press release: "Pumps enhance effective insulin absorption and increase insulin sensitivity thanks to the continuous daily subcutaneous insulin delivery. Our findings open up a valuable new treatment option for those individuals failing on current injection regimens and may also provide improved convenience, reducing the burden of dose tracking and scheduling, and decreasing insulin injection omissions."

A drawback of insulin pumps may be cost said Dr Pratik Choudhary from King's College London, UK in a press release.

The large study suggests insulin pumps could help better manage uncontrolled type 2 diabetes that fails to respond to diet, lifestyle and multiple insulin injections daily.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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