t:flex™ Large Capacity Insulin Pump for Diabetes is Available

Commentary by: Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, LD, CDE

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the t:flex™ insulin pump for marketing. The pump, manufactured by Tandem Diabetes Care, can store the largest amount of insulin (480 units) of any pump available in the United States.

“The t:flex pump makes insulin pump therapy a better option for those people who are insulin resistant and require large amounts of insulin,” said Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, LD, CDE, Diabetes Educator and Clinical Dietitian, St. Luke’s Hospital, Duluth, MN.  “This means insulin pump therapy is now an option for many patients who would not have been ideal candidates for this type of therapy in the past,” said Ms. Urbanski, who also is a member of the Tandem Diabetes Care clinical advisory board.

Advantages of the t:flex Insulin Pump
The t:flex pump is designed for people who need more than 100 units of U-100 insulin per day, such as teenagers with type 1 diabetes and many adults with type 2 diabetes. The advantage of using the t:flex pump over 200- to 300-unit pumps is less need to the change the reservoir that holds the insulin, according to the manufacturer. In addition, the pump is able to deliver tiny insulin doses to help better control blood sugar levels.

“If a person is currently taking basal (long-acting) insulin plus mealtime insulin and require more than 100 units of insulin per day, this pump might be a good option for them,” Ms. Urbanski said. “They need to be willing to be connected to a pump 24 hours a day, and be willing to learn pump therapy (how to fill the pump with insulin, place an infusion set, and how to program the pump),” she said.

People with diabetes who are willing to learn pump therapy “may enjoy improved blood glucose control and more flexibility in their diabetes management,” Ms. Urbanski said. “Just like patients with type 1 diabetes, those people with type 2 diabetes who need to take insulin when they eat carbohydrates benefit when their insulin is immediately available for them to take—that is, readily available in a pump that is connected to their body. A pump also allows them to adjust their insulin for increased physical activity— just like people with type 1 diabetes,” she said.

The t:flex pump can be used with a computer application that stores information on your blood sugar levels and insulin doses over time to help people with diabetes and health care providers to work together to fine-tune therapy.

 

This article is for informational purposes only. Patients should discuss their endocrine condition and treatment options with their health care provider.

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