Recent advances in treatment of youth with Type 1 diabetes: better care through technology

Diabet Med. 2001 Nov;18(11):864-70. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2001.00626.x.


While treatment of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in children and adolescents is especially difficult, recent technological advances have provided new therapeutic options to clinicians and patients. The urgency to achieve strict diabetes control and the introduction of new and improved insulin pumps have been accompanied by a marked increase in use of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) therapy in youth with diabetes. Results of clinical outcome studies indicate that CSII provides a safe and effective alternative to multiple daily injection (MDI) therapy, even when employed in a regular clinic setting in a large number of children. The safety and efficacy of CSII is further enhanced by the introduction of lispro and aspart insulin. The sharper peaks and shorter duration of action of these very rapid-acting insulin analogues provides a means to achieve better control of post-prandial hyperglycaemia with less late post-prandial and nocturnal hypoglycaemia. Glargine insulin, a soluble and essentially peakless long-acting insulin analogue, may provide a better basal insulin for MDI regimens, but there are limited published data with this agent in children with T1DM. A number of systems for pulmonary delivery of insulin are in development and preliminary results of Phase III studies have been promising. Like CSII, inhaled insulin allows the child to take bolus insulin doses before each meal without having to take a premeal injection. A major obstacle to effective treatment is that self-monitoring of three to four blood glucose levels a day often misses the marked glycaemic excursions that characterize T1DM in young patients. On the other hand, new continuous glucose sensing systems provide a wealth of data that can be used to optimize basal and bolus therapy, regardless of how insulin is administered. Even more important, we may finally be at the threshold of development of a practically applicable artificial pancreas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / methods
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • Therapeutics / trends*


  • Insulin