Joslin Diabetes Center study examines insulin pump therapy in adolescents

BOSTON -- October 31, 2006 -- In spite of its many advantages, there are many challenges to using an insulin pump to treat type 1 diabetes. Despite these challenges, however, more and more youngsters are choosing pump therapy, even though important questions remain about the pump's effectiveness for this age group: With all its risks and demands, is it a method of treatment that children and teens can maintain? What causes adolescents to go off of pump therapy and how often does this occur? Is it possible to identify those youth unable to meet the demands of pump therapy and to find interventions that will help them succeed?

Now, in the first long-term investigation conducted among pediatric patients who chose to go on pump therapy (rather than using it as part of a clinical trial), a new study in the November issue of Diabetes Care by researchers in the Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Section at Joslin Diabetes Center, is providing answers. Following a group of 161 children and adolescents, ages 4-21, for an average of four years, the researchers have shown that with proper training and follow-up, for the great majority of patients--more than 80 percent of the children in this study--insulin pump therapy provides a lasting and effective mode of treatment. They also identified several factors that put patients at risk for failure in adapting to pump use.

"More than 130 patients were able to use the pump effectively," says senior author, Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Joslin's Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section, an Investigator in the Genetics and Epidemiology Section and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "By looking at differences between the patients who remained on pump therapy and those who returned to injected insulin, we were able to identify factors present even at the start of pump therapy that were predictive of failure. For example, patients who resumed injection therapy checked their b

Contact: Jenny Eriksen
Joslin Diabetes Center

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