DUBAI-Medtronic, Inc. has stated that its sensor-augmented insulin pump is a breakthrough in the management of diabetes and is a step closer to the artificial pancreas or a closed loop system.
Sensor-augmented insulin pumps, which are an alternative to insulin injections, are small, discreet, easy to use and programmable devices that allow a continuous flow of rapid-acting insulin to be released into the body while monitoring the patient’s glucose levels 24 hours a day.
Arabic enabled to reach out to the wider Middle Eastern market, these sensor-augmented insulin pumps are the world’s first and only insulin pump which can automatically shut-off the supply of insulin if the patient’s sensor glucose levels drop too low, aiming to protect against potentially dangerous hypoglycemia.
According to the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization, six out of the world’s top ten countries for highest prevalence of diabetes are currently in the Middle East and North Africa Region – Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Estimates suggest that around 19 per cent of UAE adult population suffer from diabetes compared to a global average of 6 per cent, attributed mostly to current economic development and lifestyle challenges.
As an example of its commitment to improving clinical outcomes for all people with diabetes, Medtronic recently announced the results of the OpT2mise trial, which showed that Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps safely achieve better glucose control for people with insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes than multiple daily injections.
While the benefits of insulin pump therapy for people with type 1 diabetes are well proven, this is the largest global study to evaluate the comparative efficacy of insulin pump therapy versus multiple daily insulin injections in people with type 2 diabetes with poor glycemic control.
Chuck Yerich, Vice President of Global Marketing at Medtronic Diabetes, stated that, “The Middle East and Africa region represents a significant opportunity for us to put our mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life in practice. As we celebrate 10 years of providing insulin pumps for the region, we remain firmly committed to advancing our technologies and solutions and providing them in the region so patients with diabetes can gain greater freedom and enjoy improved health”.
Majid Kaddoumi, Vice President and Managing Director of Medtronic in Middle East and Africa added, “Leveraging more than 30 years of global experience in the field of Diabetes, we want to make sure that people with diabetes, their families and their healthcare providers in the Middle East and Africa have easy access to valuable educational resources. Our commitment is to continue to provide excellent training on the most advanced insulin pump technology that will encourage success with the therapy,” he continued, “we are exploring the opportunity of establishing jointly with public entities Centres of Excellence that will design and execute on such training programs.”
“I started using the insulin pump when I turned 13 and that was after I had been through insulin injections for about 5 years and I can tell you that it has really changed my life! I think the pump is amazing! It allows you to live your life with a lot more freedom and peace of mind,” said Shrooq Al-Harmoudi, Emirati living with diabetes since she was 8 years old and adopted insulin pump therapy 7 years ago, “People with diabetes don’t have to be upset that they have to live with the disease; with the insulin pump, it no longer feels like it’s a big problem”.
Most people with type 1 diabetes or advanced type 2 diabetes currently manage their blood glucose by finger prick tests and multiple daily injections of insulin. This method of regular injections requires regular planning in day-to-day life – from when patients can eat to types of food and any exercise.
These levels of forward planning mean some patients, particularly children, have difficulties in managing their diabetes in this way, potentially endangering their health.
The insulin pump is designed to deliver a continuous amount of insulin, 24 hours a day according to a programmed plan unique to each pump user. The pumps have a small, flexible tube (called a cannula), which is inserted under the abdomen and taped in place.
With features like the Bolus Wizard Calculator, with the press of a button, patients can give themselves an extra dose of insulin when planning to have a meal. Insulin pumps provide greater flexibility, allowing people to live fuller, more productive lives with diabetes.
With each generation of devices, Medtronic has improved glucose control for people with diabetes. The company’s ultimate goal is to develop a fully automated system that closely mimics the functions of a healthy pancreas by automatically monitoring glucose levels and delivering appropriate insulin to people with Type 1 diabetes; this future “fully automated artificial pancreas” will truly require minimal to no interaction by the patient user.