Ramadan fasting in diabetes patients on insulin pump therapy augmented by continuous glucose monitoring: an observational real-life study

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Sep;14(9):813-8. doi: 10.1089/dia.2012.0061. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


Background and aims: Hypoglycemia during the daytime of Ramadan fasting is the most feared complication of diabetes. Insulin pump therapy has been proposed as the ideal "theoretical" method for insulin delivery. We report a prospective observational, single-center study of insulin-treated patients using insulin pump therapy during Ramadan 2011.

Patients and methods: Twenty-one patients (10 males and 11 females) were selected; median age was 26 years. They adjusted their insulin as per their usual practices. Outcome measures obtained before and during Ramadan included body weight, glycosylated hemoglobin, blood glucose, total insulin dose differences, overriding tendency, suspension time during fasting, and number of hypoglycemic episodes.

Results: The patients fasted for a median of 29 days. The observed changes during Ramadan were overall not significant quantitatively, but some trends were noted. The total insulin administered during Ramadan was not different from that in the pre-Ramadan period, but there was a redistribution of insulin over a 24-h period in relation to the changes in the daily lifestyle and eating patterns. Basal insulin was decreased during the daytime by 5-20% from before Ramadan and increased during the nighttime. The mean change in the overall amount of basal insulin was not significant. A larger than usual amount of insulin bolus was given at the meals Iftar, Fowala, and Suhur; the change in the total amount of bolus insulin as a percentage change from total insulin was also not significant. No major hypoglycemic episodes were reported. Minor hypoglcemic episodes were equally distributed between daytime and nighttime and were managed by either basal insulin adjustment or suspension from the pump.

Conclusions: This study confirms the advantages provided by insulin pump use in patients with diabetes were enhanced by the use of continuous glucose monitoring. We provided more evidence-based advice on how best to adjust the insulin pump during fasting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Fasting*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism*
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Holidays*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / blood*
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems*
  • Islam*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human