While injecting with a syringe or insulin pen are the most popular methods of insulin delivery, other options exist:
Insulin pumps are about the size of an electronic pager and can be worn on a belt or in a pocket. They deliver insulin through a flexible tube inserted under the skin near the abdomen. The user gets a continuous flow of basal insulin, as well as larger bolus doses that are released by pressing a button at mealtimes or at other times when blood sugar levels are above the target range.
By providing a small yet constant flow of insulin, insulin pumps mimic the way a healthy pancreas works. For people who keep a close eye on their blood glucose levels, activity levels, and diets, insulin pumps may provide better glucose control and might allow for greater flexibility in your insulin regimen. However, insulin pumps require attention in order for them to give you good results:
Jet injectors are devices that force a tiny stream of insulin through the skin by pressure. Unlike syringes and insulin pens, jet injectors don't puncture the skin, which is good news for people who are afraid of needles. However, jet injectors do have their downsides, and as a result, are not routinely used as alternatives to syringes:
Before buying a jet injector, try it out to make sure that the effort to use it properly is something you're willing to do every day. Also, check with your insurance company to see if it's covered.
Infusers minimize needle sticks by creating a portal that you inject insulin into. A small tube is inserted into the fatty tissue of the injection site (typically the abdomen), and taped in place for two or three days. Insulin is injected with a traditional syringe or insulin pen into the tube instead of through the skin. Increased risk of infection and a lot of discomfort are the main drawbacks of infusion sets.
New Technologies in Insulin Delivery
The following methods are being researched, but they're some years away from being broadly available in the United States.