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Insulin

Insulin Pumps Kill Teenagers

Monday, September 29, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: insulin, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) More than a thousand diabetic teenagers have been injured and more than a dozen killed through the use of insulin pumps, according to a study conducted by researchers from the FDA and published in the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers reviewed all adverse event reports for the medical devices among people between the ages of 12 and 21 for the years 1996 to 2005. They found that 1,500 injuries and 13 deaths had been reported in connection with the pumps. Because doctors are required to submit reports to the FDA on any adverse reaction that results after the use of a drug or device, the researchers noted that not all of these reactions were necessarily caused by the insulin pumps.

Insulin pumps are small, cell-phone-sized devices that can take the place of regular insulin injections from hypodermic syringes. Instead, the pump is clipped to a belt or placed in a pocket, and sends a continuous flow of insulin into the body through a tube with a hypodermic tip that is worn under the skin at all times. Before a meal, patients enter the estimated carbohydrates of the meal, and pump adjusts the flow of insulin accordingly.

Because they are less burdensome than injections, the pumps are particularly popular among diabetic teenagers. An estimated 100,000 teenagers use the devices, which make $1.3 billion for manufacturers each year. An insulin pump costs $6,000, plus $250 per month for the insulin itself.

In the current study, researchers found that many adverse reactions were caused by improper use of the pumps, sometimes due to teenagers being unaware of the proper way to use the pumps. Errors might also arise from device malfunction, sometimes caused by patients not caring for them properly or even dropping them. Two incidents were suspected of being attempted suicide through deliberate insulin overdose.

A problem as simple as a blocked tube can quickly lead to a potentially fatal overdose.

"In a matter of a few hours, all the insulin in the body disappears," said John Buse, president for medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association. "Metabolically, the child starts to spiral out of control."

Sources for this story include: ap.google.com.

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