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Question:
I am 12 years old and have had diabetes since I was 6. My hemoglobin levels are great right now (8%) and the doctor tells me that it is hard for most people to achieve that level. But that is not what I want to discuss with you.

Lately, I have been investigating insulin pumps. I have received a packet from one of the companies, and have ordered an informational packet on the other. What would you personally recomend if I were to get an insulin pump and why? Which one do you think would be the best overall value (not considering price) and which one ranks the best in features? It seems peculiar to me that the MiniMed 506 pump is $4095 and the Disetronic is $3995 for two pumps.

Do you even think that I should consider getting a pump?

Answer:
Either brand of insulin pumps is highly acceptable. We feel that there's not much difference between the pumps (though they sure have different policies on how they price the devices!). Clearly, you should look at both brands, and choose either one of them based on your own reaction to what you think is best for you. Both companies have been highly reliable, and offer excellent service. There are minor differences in the features, but really, you can choose either one, based on your own reaction to what you think is best for you.

The only difference we're really tuned in on, is that sometimes you'll have one company's rep more readily available because they live nearby, and that rep will tend to be more pushy to you and your doc than the other rep who lives out of town. DON'T choose a pump based on a rep's attitude: listen to everything good they say about their brand, and compare the features against what the other rep has to say. They rarely will directly say anything bad about the other company's pump, but if they mention a feature that they have, that the competitor doesn't have, be sure to ask the competitor about that same feature: you'll probably get a different perspective on it.

The pump prices you mention are in about the right range. Yes, Disetronic does offer two pumps at about the same price as MiniMed's pump! And remember, the cost of the supplies for the pump are higher than the costs of plain old insulin syringes. And the costs of the strips to check your blood sugar will probably the same, or more since most pump patients get a bit more compulsive about checking lots of blood sugar levels. By the way, most insurance companies that pay for insulin pumps don't care which brand you buy: so far, anyway...

I'll answer your last question with a question: if your glycohemoglobin levels are great, why bother with the hassles of a pump? There's no medical evidence that merely switching to a pump will improve your control: you can do just as well with multiple injections. It's really a very personal decision, based on your lifestyle!

Original posting 4 Jan 96

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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