From Kansas City, Missouri, USA:
I am 32 years old and have had type 1 diabetes since the age of 10, and I an on an insulin pump. I want to stay on the pump, but I am looking into the option of the internal pump. I would look forward to not having to deal with tubes and having it on me at all times, convenience. What are the drawbacks from this type of pump? Are there any risks or side effects from the internal pump?
My own prediction is that the use of internal insulin pumps in man will not be commercially developed. It is true that these pumps have been used over relatively short terms in animals and certainly the widespread use of pacemakers have afforded plenty of experience in installing hardware. The two particular concerns are that pump reservoirs need to be refilled, not an insurmountable problem, but one that could cause a lot of trouble with the inexperienced, and that the insulin delivery system so often becomes obstructed over time with inflammatory tissue. The cost of convincing the FDA that such an instrument would be without significant risk would be considerable, and the market would probably not justify it.
In the not too distant future, I think that you will see an external pump that is linked to a glucose sensor although that still involves catheters. So from your point of view, I think that the proposed new insulin inhalers, especially the very small devices like the Generex Oral Insulin Spray that produces an insulin mist that can be absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth, are your most promising relief.
[Editor's comment: I believe that there are still human trials of the internal pump going on, and there is a site in your vicinity. However, as far as I know, this device has not received FDA approval for use by the general diabetes population. See: The MiniMed 2007 Implantable Insulin Pump System SS]
Original posting 19 Mar 2001
Posted to Insulin Pumps
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