Insulin Pump Therapy

Am J Ther. 2020 Jan/Feb;27(1):e30-e41. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001097.


Background: Advances in pump technology have increased the popularity of this treatment modality among patients with type 1 diabetes and recently also among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Areas of uncertainty: Four decades after the incorporation of the insulin pump in clinical use, questions regarding its efficacy, occurrence rate of short-term complications as hypoglycemia and diabetes ketoacidosis, timing of pump initiation, and selected populations for use remain unanswered.

Data sources: A review of the literature was performed using the PubMed database to identify all articles published up till December 2018, with the search terms including insulin pump therapy/continuous subcutaneous insulin delivery. The Cochrane database was searched for meta-analysis evaluating controlled randomized trials. Consensuses guidelines published by the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, and Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes year books were additionally reviewed for relevant cited articles.

Therapeutic advances: Insulin pump therapy offers flexible management of diabetes. It enables adjustment of basal insulin to daily requirements and circadian needs, offers more precise treatment for meals and physical activity, and, when integrated with continuous glucose monitoring, allows glucose responsive insulin delivery. The ability to download and transmit data for analysis allow for treatment optimization. Newer pumps are simple to operate and increase user experience. Studies support the efficacy of pump therapy in improving glycemic control and reducing the occurrence of hypoglycemia without increasing episodes of diabetes ketoacidosis. They also improve quality of life. Recent evidence suggests a role for pump therapy in reducing microvascular and macrovascular diabetes-related complications.

Conclusions: Insulin pump therapy appears to be effective and safe in people with T1D regardless of age. Future advancements will include incorporation of closed loop and various decision support systems to aid and improve metabolic control and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems*
  • Quality of Life


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin