Insulin pumps, used by people with diabetes, are medical devices that continuously deliver insulin under the skin through a catheter. Most often, a pump connects somewhere in the waist area. Many health providers recommend the insulin pump because its slow and steady release of insulin mimics a healthy pancreas.
In recent years, insulin pump technology has made many new and important advances including improved screens with higher resolution, comfortable infusion sets, tactile bolusing and safety alarms. And now there’s now a new generation of insulin pumps called patch pumps. Patch pumps adhere directly to the skin with no catheter tubing showing and insulin is infused directly under the skin. The Omnipod is the only patch pump on the market at the current time but there are many that are in the works.
Nancy J. Bohannon, MD, a physician at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in San Francisco, has reviewed the following patch pumps which are still being developed:
- Finesse (Calibra Medical): delivers bolus insulin or pramlitide.
- V-Go (Valeritas): is a once-daily disposable insulin delivery system for type 2 diabetes.
- Solo (Medingo): has a three-month life, electronically controlled.
- Freehand (MedSolve Technologies): is remote controlled, 80% smaller than OmniPod.
- Insulin NanoPump (ST Microelectronics and Debiotech): has large reservoir, miniaturized system.
- Altea Therapeutics: is developing a 12-hour and 24-hour patch.
- Medtronic: is developing a patch delivery system.
Most insurers will cover insulin pump therapy in situations where insulin pump therapy will significantly improve the level of diabetes care and control over and above multidose insulin (MDI) therapy.