Treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) requires lifelong administration of exogenous insulin. The primary goal of treatment of T1DM in children and adolescents is to maintain near-normoglycemia through intensive insulin therapy, avoid acute complications, and prevent long-term microvascular and macrovascular complications, while facilitating as close to a normal life as possible. Effective insulin therapy must, therefore, be provided on the basis of the needs, preferences, and resources of the individual and the family for optimal management of T1DM. To achieve target glycemic control, the best therapeutic option for patients with T1DM is basal-bolus therapy either with multiple daily injections (MDI) or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII). Many formulations of insulin are available to help simulate endogenous insulin secretion as closely as possible in an effort to eliminate the symptoms and complications of hyperglycemia, while minimizing the risk of hypoglycemia secondary to therapy. When using MDI, basal insulin requirements are given as an injection of long- or intermediate-acting insulin analogs, while meal-related glucose excursions are controlled with bolus injections of rapid-acting insulin analogs. Alternatively, CSII can be used, which provides a 24-h preselected but adjustable basal rate of rapid-acting insulin, along with patient-activated mealtime bolus doses, eliminating the need for periodic injections. Both MDI treatment and CSII therapy must be supported by comprehensive education that is appropriate for the individual needs of the patient and family before and after initiation. Current therapies still do not match the endogenous insulin profile of pancreatic β-cells, and all still pose risks of suboptimal control, hypoglycemia, and ketosis in children and adolescents. The safety and success of a prescribed insulin regimen is, therefore, dependent on self-monitoring of blood glucose and/or a continuous glucose monitoring system to avoid critical hypoglycemia and glucose variability. Regardless of the mode of insulin therapy, doses should be adapted on the basis of the daily pattern of blood glucose, through regular review and reassessment, and patient factors such as exercise and pubertal status. New therapy options such as sensor-augmented insulin pump therapy, which integrates CSII with a continuous glucose sensor, along with emerging therapies such as the artificial pancreas, will likely continue to improve safe insulin therapy in the near future.
This library item was referred to by the moderator of the following discussion: Education for insulin pump use