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Insulin Pumps

What They Do: Insulin pumps are devices that deliver insulin without the need for manual injections. They are able to administer both basal insulin and bolus (mealtime) insulin once users program their dose into the device. Many pumps come with built-in bolus-calculators, which can reduce the hassle of manual insulin dose calculations. 

Some new Medtronic systems can automatically suspend insulin dosing when glucose levels are low. These systems combine data from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with an insulin pump to automatically adjust insulin based on your blood glucose levels. Click to learn more about automated insulin delivery systems

Updated August 4, 2020

What Supplies Do I Need?

In addition to the insulin itself, most insulin pumps require three main components (all of which are connected to the body):

  • Pump

  • Inserted sub-cutaneous (beneath the skin) cannula, which delivers insulin

  • Tubing – moves insulin from the pump to the cannula

Exceptions:

  • The Insulet OmniPod consists of a patch worn on the skin that administers insulin, plus a device that the user controls to manage insulin dosing.

  • Roche’s Accu-Chek patch pump is used with a disposable insulin reservoir and a handheld controller. This device is currently only available in Europe and Australia

  • The Valeritas V-Go is a once-daily, disposable patch pump for people with type 2 diabetes. The spring-driven patch pump is worn on the skin with a preset basal rate and can bolus at any given time.

Choosing a Pump:

With multiple pumps available, it raises the question: "What pump to choose?" There is NO perfect pump, since all devices have benefits and drawbacks depending on your preferences. The table below summarizes our team's experiences with a number of pumps common in the US.

Pump

Key Features

Key Draw-backs 

Most Ideal For...

Insulet OmniPod

Tubeless, discreet, and relatively painless insertion

Easy setup and pod changes

Waterproof

Wireless controller with integrated meter

Lower upfront cost

Personal Diabetes Manager BGM device only works with Abbott FreeStyle strips

Those who are new to pumps, very young people, highly active people

Those who prefer a discrete pump without tubing

 

Medtronic MiniMed 630G System

Makes use of SmartGuard technology to stop insulin delivery for two hours if glucose levels reach a low 

Optional hybrid closed-loop pump

Waterproof

Only approved for children 14 and older

People who struggle with nighttime hypoglycemia 

 

Medtronic MiniMed 670G System

Hybrid closed-loop pump

 

Auto-mode automatically adjusts basal-insulin based CGM readings

Makes use of SmartGuard technology to stop insulin delivery for two hours if glucose levels reach a low

Frequent system alerts are given while in Auto-mode

The pump requires users to confirm mealtime and correct bolus recommendations

People who struggle with nighttime hypoglycemia 

 

People who need help stabilizing glucose levels

 

Tandem t:slim

Utilizes a touchscreen, highly-intuitive interface

Has a rechargeable battery

Highly customizable “personal profiles” for insulin delivery

Infusion set changes take a long time

Many confirmation screens and warning messages

Those who desire a pump that doesn’t look like a medical device

Those who are new to pumps

Useful Links:

Understanding Insulin Pump Settings – Learn about insulin pump terms like basal rates, carb ratios, insulin sensitivity, and more.

MiniMed 780G Receives CE-Mark Approval in Europe-MiniMed 780G closed-loop system approved in Europe for people with diabetes ages 7-80

The FDA Approves Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G Hybrid Closed Loop System – MiniMed 670G is the first hybrid closed loop system officially approved for people with type 1 diabetes seven years and older.

Insulet’s Omnipod Dash – A new and improved touchscreen handheld personal diabetes manager and a Bluetooth-enabled tubeless pod.

TEST DRIVE: Insulet's Second Generation Omnipod – Adam and Kelly report on the advantages of the newest Omnipod.

TEST DRIVE: Tandem's t:slim – Adam Brown provides describes this innovative pump, which includes a touchscreen, a rechargeable battery, and highly-customizable profiles.

Accu-Chek Solo Tubeless Patch Pump Approved in Europe – This pump from Roche launched in four European countries in 2018; it has a wireless handheld controller with Bluetooth and a 200-unit insulin reservoir.

Insulet’s Omnipod Now Eligible for Medicare Coverage – Omnipod is available in pharmacies and covered under Medicare Part D. 

New Pumps Coming to Canada, Europe: Medtronic MiniMed 670G and Tandem t:slim X2 – The MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system and t:slim X2 pump with G5 CGM integration will soon be available for people with type 1 diabetes living in Canada, complementing recent availability in Europe.

FDA Approves Medtronic’s MiniMed 630G System – The MiniMed 630G is the same pump platform as the 640G and 670G (the same overall pump body design, waterproofing, screen, buttons, etc), but has the simplest control algorithm: suspending basal insulin delivery when the low threshold is crossed.

Valeritas V-Go – This wearable insulin delivery device provides basal-bolus insulin therapy for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Please note, this page is not a comprehensive list of all of the available resources or products available. All links are organized chronologically within their respective sections.