Insulin pumps outperform injections in diabetic children

August 27, 2013

Insulin pumps control blood sugar in children with diabetes better than insulin injections, according to a new study.

Insulin pumps control blood sugar in children with diabetes better than insulin injections, according to a new study.

Published in the August 18, 2013 issue of the journal Diabetologia, the study was led by Stephanie R. Johnson with the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, Australia.

“This is the largest study of insulin pump use in children. Our data confirm that insulin pump therapy provides an improvement in glycemic control, which is sustained for at least 7 years,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson and her team compared outcomes for 345 children from ages 2 to 19 using insulin pumps to control type 1 diabetes, to around the same number of children who were receiving insulin injections. The researchers followed the children for an average of 3½ years.

They found that insulin pump therapy reduced severe hypoglycemia from 14.7 to 7.2 events per 100 patient-years. Conversely, severe hypoglycemia increased in the non-pump group from 6.8 to 10.2 events per 100 patient-years.

In addition, the rate of hospitalization for diabetic ketoacidosis was lower in the insulin pump group (2.3 versus 4.7 events per 100 patient-years).

“The increasing use of insulin pump therapy over the last 15 years, particularly in children, has been driven by improvements in pump technology and the availability of insulin analogues….Despite this increased use, the outcomes of pump therapy continue to be debated,” Johnson wrote.