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Insulin pumps may be an important tool for anybody with diabetes, particularly type 1, who needs to put insulin into their body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that in the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.
The primary treatment for type 1 diabetes is the administration of insulin.
This article discusses what insulin pumps are and who would benefit from using them. It also explores features of insulin pumps, insulin pump products, and some frequently asked questions.
A person wears an insulin pump outside their body. It is a small machine that provides bursts of insulin through a tube and needle as and when needed. Some insulin pumps do not use needles and tubes but attach directly to the skin.
People may need to take insulin if their body no longer makes it. A person with type 1 diabetes is likely to use an insulin pump. However, people with type 2 diabetes may also benefit from using one.
Learn more about insulin here.
A person may wish to consider some of the following features when buying an insulin pump:
People will need a prescription to purchase an insulin pump.
The Medical News Today vetting team has evaluated the products and brands below based on medical accuracy and integrity.
Insurance can often cover the price of the products, depending on an individual’s plan.
A person should never purchase an insulin pump from a company that does not require a prescription.
Learn more about basal-bolus insulin therapy here.
All the insulin pumps below require a prescription to purchase, and pricing is dependent on a person’s insurance coverage. People who wish to buy a pump should contact the manufacturer with their healthcare and insurance details.
This model from Medtronic comes with an optional CGM so a person can also monitor their blood sugar levels using the same device. It is also compatible with the Contour Next Link 2.4 blood glucose meter.
Medtronic claims that this system makes a person four times more likely to reach their target A1C level, which is their average blood glucose level over about 3 months.
Other stand out features include:
Some of the features above require the CGM.
A person should change the tubing every 2 or 3 days.
This alternative device from Medtronic is suitable for people with type 1 diabetes aged 2 and older. This is an upgraded version of the previously listed MiniMed 670G system.
Additional features include:
Some of these features require the CGM.
This insulin pump does not require tubes. The pump inserts through a device that enters the skin at the push of a button. A person can wear it on their body where they would normally inject insulin.
Other features include:
Many insurance companies cover the Omnipod Dash. It is also available through pharmacies with a prescription.
This pump from Tandem has a slim design. The company claims it is 38% smaller than competitors’ products.
Additional features of the t:slim X2 include:
Some of the features above require the CGM.
Below are some of the most common questions and answers about insulin pumps.
A person may be able to get an insulin pump if they are currently taking insulin injections. A person should discuss this with a doctor.
Generally, insulin pumps should be painless and easy to use, particularly compared with regular injections. However, tubing can catch or get tangled, which could cause strain and soreness at the infusion site.
It is unclear how much an insulin pump may cost without insurance. However, many companies offer financial assistance and payment plans if required.
The American Diabetes Association states that insulin pumps are small, computerized devices. They deliver insulin in a steady and continuous dose, or basal rate, which the user programs. They also deliver insulin as a surge dose, or bolus, under the user’s direction.
The insulin enters the body through a thin tube that attaches to a needle, which goes under the skin. People refer to the tube and needle together as an infusion set.
Insulin pumps may play a vital role for those with diabetes who need more insulin in their body. Pumps can be an alternative to a person injecting themselves with insulin several times a day.
Many insulin pumps have smart features and can be compatible with smartphones or CGMs.
A person must have a prescription to receive an insulin pump, and insurance may cover the cost.
Last medically reviewed on November 25, 2021
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Nov 26, 2021
Suzy Davenport
Edited By
Amy Fitzgerald
Medically Reviewed By
Michelle L. Griffith, MD
Copy Edited By
Kate Phelan
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