Importance of insulin delivery devices for diabetes management

June 8, 2010

The growing use of insulin delivery devices such as pens and pumps may help individuals with diabetes optimize blood glucose control and minimize their risk for chronic health problems associated with diabetes, as described in a Special Supplement to Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc..

"Improved delivery devices for treatment have increased patient compliance and acceptance of an intensive insulin strategy," which can result in significant reductions in long-term complications associated with poorly controlled type 1 and type 2 diabetes, says Satish Garg, MD, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver, in his Editorial entitled "Impact of Insulin Delivery Devices in Diabetes Care."

The development of automated glucose-controlled insulin infusion systems that combine the advantages of continuous glucose measurement with intravenous insulin infusion pumps "is likely to explode over the next several years," predicts Jay Skyler, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Florida), in the article, "Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion—An Historical Perspective."

Although insulin pump and pen technology have been available for quite some time, these devices are "underused, misused, or poorly used," says Irl Hirsch, MD, from the University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle). In his Concluding Remarks, "Insulin Delivery Devices—Pumps and Pens," he reviews the reasons for the poor use of diabetes technology worldwide and predicts increased adoption of these treatment devices in the coming decade.

Eric Renard, MD, PhD, from the University of Montpellier (France), presents the factors he believes have limited insulin pump use in Europe and the need for expanded insurance coverage and education to drive increased adoption of the technology. Bruce Bode, MD, a diabetes specialist with Atlanta Diabetes Associates (Georgia), describes the promise and advantages insulin pumps offer for improving glucose control in type 2 , based on early-stage clinical research in this area.

Riccardo Perfetti, MD, PhD, from Sanofi-Aventis (Paris, France), explores the reasons for the marked geographical variation in the use of reusable and disposable insulin pens and concludes that the most important factor is likely varied access to the devices in different regions of the world. Perfetti also suggests that insulin pens have potential benefit for use in hospitalized patients, an application that has received too little attention.

More information: The issue is available free online (http://www.liebertpub.com/dia).

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