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.

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    • 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.)

Insulin Pumps Available in the United States

  Insulet
Omnipod® DASH
Medtronic
MiniMed™ 630G
Medtronic
MiniMed™ 770G
Tandem
t:slim X2™
Ages 0+ 14+ 2+ 6+
Waterproof  Yes (25 feet, 60 minutes)  Yes (12 feet, 24 hours)  Yes (12 feet, 24 hours) Watertight (3 feet, 30 minutes)
CGM Capability  No, but those who utilize Omnipod DISPLAY™ app on their iOS smartphone can view both insulin data and CGM data alongside  Optional, using the Guardian ™ Sensor 3 (14+) or the Enlite™ sensor (16+)  Optional (Guardian™ Sensor 3) Optional for Basal-IQ and required for Control IQ, with Dexcom G6® CGM integration. 
Automated Insulin Delivery Feature No Optional (when used with Guardian™ Sensor 3)  Optional (when used with Guardian™ Sensor 3)  Optional (when upgraded to Basal-IQ or Control-IQ and used with Dexcom G6®) 
Smartphone enabled No, smartphone-like Personal Diabetes Manager; Omnipod VIEW™ app for up to 12 care partners  Yes, through a compatible smartphone; Carelink™ Connect app for up to 5 care partners   Yes, through a compatible smartphone and MiniMed Mobile App; Carelink™ Connect app for up to 5 care partners   Yes, through the t:connect® app 
Tubing No  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Software Upgrades Yes  No  Yes  Yes 
Notes    The suspend on low feature is only available with a connected CGM  Total daily dose of 8+ units, but no more than 250 units, is required to operate in SmartGuard™ technology  
More Information  Omnipod DASH website Medtronic MiniMed 630G website Medtronic MiniMed 770G website Tandem t:slim X2 website

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.

Other Resources

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

 

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