Implantable insulin pump vs multiple-dose insulin for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: a randomized clinical trial. Department of Veterans Affairs Implantable Insulin Pump Study Group

JAMA. 1996 Oct;276(16):1322-7.


Objective: To determine whether implantable insulin pump (IIP) therapy and multiple daily insulin (MDI) injections could equally attain improved blood glucose control, and to compare the 2 treatments with respect to reducing daily blood glucose fluctuations, reducing serious hypoglycemic insulin reactions, and improving patients' quality of life.

Design: Randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Seven Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Patients: One hundred twenty-one male type II diabetic patients between the ages of 40 and 69 years, receiving at least 1 injection of insulin per day and having hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels of 8% or above.

Intervention: Intensive therapy (IIP or MDI) for 1 year.

Main outcome measures: Hemoglobin A1c and blood glucose levels.

Results: Blood glucose levels declined to 7.96+/-1.08 mmol/L (143.4+/-19.5 mg/dL) and 8.30+/-1.52 mmol/L (149.6+/-27.4 mg/dL) (mean +/- SD) for IIP and MDI, respectively (P=.57). Hemoglobin A1c levels improved in both groups (time effect P<.001), to means of 7.54%+/-0.83% (MDI) vs 7.34%+/-0.79% (IIP). IIP reduced blood glucose fluctuations compared with MDI (P<.001), and reduced the incidence of mild clinical hypoglycemia by 68% (P<.001); IIP also eliminated the weight gain associated with MDI therapy and yielded better overall quality-of-life (P=.03) and impact-of-disease subscale scores (P=.05). Adverse events included 25% of subjects with episodes of insulin underdelivery due to microprecipitates of insulin within the pump.

Conclusions: Intensive insulin therapy with IIP and MDI is effective in controlling non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. IIP has significant advantages in reducing glycemic variability, clinical hypoglycemia, and weight gain, while improving aspects of quality of life.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Weight Gain


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin