The Roche Column

The benefits of insulin pump therapy

Dr Andreas Reichel MD discusses the benefits of insulin pump therapy at the 18th Annual Congress of The Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Lipids.

There are many advantages of insulin pump therapy – the main ones being that it eliminates uncomfortable individual insulin injections and regulates insulin dosage, which is particularly important at night when the diabetic patient is asleep and there is a dip in blood sugar levels.

These key points were made by Dr Andreas Reichel during his presentation to the 18th Annual Congress of The Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Lipids. The congress was held in Lebanon recently and is considered one of the most important congresses in this field due to the diversity of speakers from around the world. It provides attendees a chance to share knowledge about state-ofart technologies for treating diabetes.

Dr Andreas is Head of the Diabetes Centre at the University Clinic Dresden, Germany and Head of the Dresden Insulin Pump Centre. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetology. The Dresden Insulin Pump Centre treats about 1,600 patients a year with insulin pump therapy.

Discussing the latest technological developments in insulin pumps, Dr Reichel said that companies are working on developing pumps where the patient can regulate the amount of insulin he or she needs before eating or doing exercise as well as before going to sleep.

Learning how to use the insulin pump

Dr Reichel said that in order to learn how to use a pump, two days is sufficient to use the pump for the management of diabetes. However, he said it may take a couple of weeks to learn how to adapt the insulin dosage to specific needs and, he added, the patient should regulate the pump for at least the first three months. While doing so, the patient should keep a continuous record and evaluate blood glucose levels.

Most of the patients who benefit from the pump are type 1 diabetics, said Dr Reichel. However, it also assists some type 2 diabetics. He noted that Type 2 patients generally have a very strong insulin resistance which means that the insulin is not able to suppress the glucose production from the liver. This is so particularly in the morning after sleep when the patient needs a very high dose of insulin – and it’s not possible to manage that with long acting insulin.

“I have patients who should inject early in the morning and this is not a good way of life,” he said. “These patients can inject long acting insulin before sleeping and again at 4am when the body needs it.

However, patients using an insulin pump can program it to provide the required dose. This makes them independent and enables them to sleep as long as they want.”

“Whereas, if you have to inject insulin in the morning you can’t sleep directly afterwards. It may take you an hour in order to be sure that the insulin is working. By using the pump you can sleep directly afterwards or you can stay sleeping and manage it before you sleep. It’s a very comfortable way of taking insulin,” he said.

 Date of upload: 12th Sep 2015


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