Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) 30 years later: still the best option for insulin therapy

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2009 Feb;25(2):99-111. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.931.


Thirty years after its introduction, the use of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) keeps increasing, especially among children and adolescents. The technique, when used properly, is safe and effective.Compared with traditional NPH-based multiple daily injections (MDI), CSII provides a small but clinically important reduction of HbA(1c) levels, diminishes blood glucose variability, decreases severe hypoglycaemic episodes and offers a better way to cope with the dawn phenomenon.Insulin analogues have improved the treatment of diabetes, eroding part of the place previously occupied by CSII, but CSII still remains the first option for patients experiencing severe hypoglycaemic episodes, high HbA(1c) values or marked glucose variability while being treated with optimized MDI. Furthermore CSII is better than MDI considering the effects on quality of life and the possibility to adjust insulin administration according to physical activity or food intake.CSII may be limited by cost. Present estimates suggest that CSII may be cost-effective just for patients experiencing a marked improvement in HbA(1c) or a decrease in severe hypoglycaemic episodes, but the effects on quality of life are difficult to measure.CSII does not merely imply wearing an external device; it requires a multidisciplinary team, intensive patient education and continuous follow up.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infusions, Subcutaneous / standards*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems / standards*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin