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November 28, 2000

Insulin Pumps

Question from Canada:

I have two children, aged 13 and 15 with type�1, and I would like information on whether or not insulin pumps are a good choice for adolescents. I am having no luck here in Canada, and my children's endocrinologist doesn't want to help me get these items. He says we can get the same results with four injections a day. Everyone knows that teenagers don't want to take shots after 10 years of taking them. I have read up on the pump, but I really want to know if they are a good alternative for teenagers.

Answer:

Insulin pumps are an excellent way to deliver insulin since they provide more physiologic insulin than multidose insulin programs. They are a lot of work, expensive and still require meal planning, blood glucose testing and close contact with a diabetes team experienced and skilled in their use. You may want to visit the web sites of the three US manufacturers: MiniMed, Disetronic, and Animas since they will give you some other ideas. I would also suggest that you get two books that will also give you great details to consider with your teens: Teens Pumping It Up: Insulin Pump Therapy Guide for Adolescents by Elizabeth Boland, MSN, APRN, PNP, CDE. and The Insulin Pump Therapy Book.

Sitting and discussing this type of treatment with adolescents is critical for success since this should not be a treatment option that only parents desire.

Lastly, you may want to have your adolescents chat with some current pump users the same age, just as you may want to chat with some parents of teen pump users. The chat rooms at this web site often will give you some other insights about pump treatment pros and cons.

SB

[Editor’s comment: Please also see: Is pumping for you?.

SS]