Insulin Pumps Could Benefit More People With Diabetes

| April 14, 2017

For people with type 1 diabetes and, increasingly, those with type 2 as well, daily multiple injections of insulin are a constant reminder of their condition and can restrict social or work-related activities. But there is another option.

Insulin pumps, which regularly measure blood glucose levels and automatically deliver the right dose have been available for several years, as I mentioned here. But currently only a tiny minority of UK diabetes patients use one.

Now, a first-ever clinical trial has compared the effectiveness of insulin pumps with multiple daily injections, in adults with type 1 diabetes. Researchers at the University of Sheffield enrolled 317 people with type 1 diabetes, who were assigned to either pump or multiple injection groups.1 All participants also received structured education on diabetes and blood sugar control.

Over the course of two years, insulin pump therapy led to slightly better improvements in HbA1c levels (glycated haemoglobin, a measure of longer-term blood sugar control), and similar rates of severe hypoglycaemia and improvements in psychological measures, compared with daily injections. The pump users also reported less daily hassle and more freedom in what they ate.

An insulin pump could help many people with diabetes to control their blood sugar better and lead a more normal life. But the UK lags behind other countries in providing them. Unless you can afford to buy one privately (roughly £2000 to £3000, plus over £1000 a year for consumables), you will need to convince the NHS that you need one.

As in many areas of healthcare, there is something of a “postcode lottery” in the ease of getting an insulin pump on the NHS. But the first step is to ask for a referral to a diabetes clinic that specialises in insulin pump therapy. Further details about getting an insulin pump can be found here.

But, whatever means of blood sugar control you use, you could still fall foul of NHS cost-cutting, which is reducing the supply of blood sugar testing strips, as I report in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. REPOSE Study Group. Relative effectiveness of insulin pump treatment over multiple daily injections and structured education during flexible intensive insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes: cluster randomised trial (REPOSE). BMJ. 2017 Mar 30 (Online ahead of print).

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Category: Natural Diabetes Alternatives

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