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Research has shown that insulin pumps are more effective in controlling blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients as opposed to the usual multiple daily injections, according to the largest study ever taken out on the devices.
Scientists say the findings should provide global confidence in insulin pumps to help the one-third of patients who struggle to control their blood sugars with injections.
The study, which has been published in The Lancet medical journal, involved 495 patients aged 30-75 with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes who were then helped to optimise their insulin injections for two months prior to the study. After this monitored period, researchers randomly pumps or insulin injections to the participants with higher HbA1c levels (a higher level of glycated blood levels).
Patients using the insulin pump saw HbA1c levels fall significantly more than those continuing to use the injections. Those on the pump therapy also spent three hours less in hyperglycaemia each day than those still using the insulin injections. By the end of the study, insulin doses were 20% lower in patients using pumps.
Professor Yves Reznik from the University of Caen Cote de Nacre Regional Hospital Centre in Caen, France, where the study was held said, “Pumps enhance effective insulin absorption and increase insulin sensitivity thanks to the continuous daily 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.”
The study provides a compelling case for the clinical effectiveness of insulin pump treatment in type 2 diabetes, suggesting that it can help improve their glycaemic control in this difficult-to-treat group of patients who are unable to achieve glucose control despite increasing doses of insulin. However, experts have warned that it still remains unclear as to whether insulin pumps would be good value for money on the NHS, and the effectiveness of the pumps in different healthcare systems across the world would need to be evaluated, but this is definitely a brighter treatment plan for those suffering from the condition.