Insulin Pumps: Are They Right for You?

Learn what insulin pumps are, how they work, the potential benefits of using one, and what to consider before you get one.

https://www.jdrf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/insulinpumps-scaled.jpg
    • Insulin Pumps are small, wearable devices programmed to deliver insulin into the body at numerous intervals throughout the day and night
    • Largely used in place of multiple daily injections (MDI) of insulin
    • Release a low, steady flow of insulin 24 hours a day (basal insulin), as well as extra doses of insulin (called boluses) to accommodate rises in blood sugar as needed (ex: when one eats)
    • Programmed to meet the individual needs of the person using it
    • Can receive and display blood-glucose levels from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) 
    • Attaches to the body
    • Vary in size, and are regularly updated, improved to be smaller and more user-friendly
    • Most require an infusion set, consisting of a cannula that is inserted under the skin with a needle—the canula is taped in place and the needle removed
    • Common insertion sites on the body include the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, upper arms, and other areas with fatty tissue
    • Requires fewer injections
    • Makes giving insulin easier (compared with traditional injections)
    • Is easy to use on the go
    • Has a built-in dosing calculator 
    • Setting it up and getting used to it can take some time
    • It needs to be worn all the time
    • While using an insulin pump may make living with T1D easier, you still need to practice daily T1D management (carb count, bolusing, adjusting for exercise, etc.)
  Medtronic
MiniMed™ 770G
Medtronic
MiniMed™ 630G*
Insulet
Omnipod DASH
Tandem
t:slim X2
Ages 2+ 14+ / 16+ 0+ 6+
Waterproof?  Yes (12f, 24h)  Yes (12f, 24h) Yes (25f, 60m) Yes (3f, 30m) 
CGM Capability?  Yes, with SmartGuard™ technology  Optional with SmartGuard™ technology, using the Guardian ™ Sensor 3 (14+) or the Enlite™ sensor (16+)  No, but those who utilize Omnipod DISPLAY™ app on their iOS smartphone can view both insulin data and CGM data alongside  Optional for Basal-IQ and required for Control IQ, with Dexcom G6® CGM integration, with no finger sticking 
Automated Insulin Delivery Feature? Yes  Yes  No Yes 
Smartphone enabled ?   Yes, through a compatible smartphone; Carelink™ Connect app for up to 5 care partners  No  No, smartphone-like Personal Diabetes Manager; Omnipod VIEW™ app for up to 12 care partners  Yes, through the t:connect® app 
Alerts?  Notification if blood-sugar readings are going high or low  Notification if blood-sugar readings are going high or low  No  Notification if blood-sugar readings are going low 
Tubing?  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Software Upgrades?  Yes, through the Medtronic website   No  Yes, wireless updates using WiFi technology  Remotely update software from a computer 
Notes  Total daily dose of 8+ units, but no more than 250 units, is required to operate in SmartGuard™ technology The suspend on low feature is only available with a connected CGM     

Getting an Insulin Pump

If you think an insulin pump might be right for you, consult with your physician. Visit DiabetesWise.org for information about:

  • Other people’s experiences using insulin pumps
  • Key questions to ask your diabetes care team
  • Support resources

Consult JDRF’s Health Insurance Guide to learn about insurance coverage of insulin pumps.

Find out why insulin pump choice matters.

Download JDRF’s Insulin Pump Fact Sheet [PDF] to compare the different FDA-approved insulin pumps

Other Resources

Consult other JDRF and Med-IQ T1D resources for health care professionals

 

Original content developed by Med-IQ in collaboration with JDRF.