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What is a Patch Insulin Pump

What Is a Patch Insulin Pump?

by Owen Clarke 24 Oct 2022

Diabetes mellitus. All of us have heard about it and know how much more challenging this issue can make the life of an average citizen out there. The disease is not only a threat to one’s usual routine and habits but to their health and well-being as well. That’s why it is essential to create a treatment plan and provide regular insulin delivery for a person; this is the only way not to let diabetes affect a person.

There are plenty of options for administering insulin medications: vials and syringes, insulin pens and cartridges, insulin pumps, etc. Today, we would like to discuss innovation in the last category we’ve just mentioned – a patch pump for insulin. What is it, and how is it different from traditional insulin pumps? Is it worth trying? All essential information about a diabetic patch pump can be found in this article. Without further ado, let’s start!

Types of Insulin Pumps

Before talking about the kinds of insulin pumps, we would like to clarify one thing about the insulin types used for blood sugar control. The thing is, the only type that can be used in pumps is fast-acting insulin (also known as rapid-acting insulin or basal insulin). A suitable dosage to maintain proper blood glucose levels can only be defined by a doctor after a patient goes through all required medical examinations; moreover, the amount of the medicine cannot be corrected without a specialist’s assistance because this action may be considered potentially dangerous for an individual.

Speaking about pumps types for insulin delivery, there are two options:

  • Tethered insulin pump. This device is attached to the body by an additional small tube which is attached to the cannula. All the control buttons are usually placed on the pump itself, and they can be comfortably carried around in the pocket, on one’s belt, or in a special body band. It can also be easily worn under clothes if an individual doesn’t want the device to be visible. The characteristics of the product also vary based on a patient’s preferences: color, screen size, and even in-built Bluetooth remotes, – the variety is pretty impressive;
  • Patch insulin pump. This device is attached directly to one’s body in the appropriate place (legs, arms, and stomach are typically chosen for this). It doesn’t have extra tubing because of its placement, and a remote is usually used to administer insulin doses whenever they are needed. Unlike a tethered type that requires only infusion set and location change, patch pumps are disposable, so they should be entirely replaced when a device notifies a person. Even though many people find it uncomfortable, others much rather prefer this option as the process of switching the pump doesn’t take a lot of time.

More About the Effectiveness of a Patch Insulin Pump

An insulin pump is an excellent option for timely bolus insulin administration for those who need it to preserve their well-being and control blood glucose levels effectively. And if a traditional insulin pump may sometimes be confusing because of all the settings, tubes, and general complexity, an insulin patch pump is much easier to comprehend and include in one’s everyday life.

Even though they offer fewer insulin delivery options and have to be changed more often, this option is still less technical and thus easier to use on a daily basis. The main difference between the traditional and more modern options is that there are fewer tubes because the product is attached directly to the body, as well as that it delivers insulin through multiple daily injections during the 24-hour period (while a traditional one may last up to three days). However, overall, a patch option is excellent for people who want to try alternative methods of insulin delivery and are tired of counting hours to pick a perfect moment to have their next dose of the vital diabetes medication.

Does It Require a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

Some kinds of patch pumps include built-in bolus calculators, which make daily insulin dose calculations much easier for an individual. Some of the devices are connected and can combine the data from the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with the insulin automagically to adjust the amount of the medication based on the current blood glucose level.

However, CGM is not provided in all variations of this device, which means it is not required to guarantee a successful experience and proper insulin infusion for diabetes treatment.

Patch Pumps Working Principle

As was already mentioned, there are a few types of insulin pumps patches a patient can choose from; the working principle of those will be explained with the example of a V-Go variation, as it’s one of the most popular models out there.

On top of the device meant to deliver insulin, four buttons are placed to control medication infusions. The “needle” button inserts the needle into the body after the insulin pump patch is attached (that’s perfect for those who don’t want to see the needle while using the product); the “needle release” button retracts it back so that the patch can be removed from the body. The other two buttons are “bolus ready” and “bolus delivery”; they should be pressed simultaneously to release the medication.

After the product is worn for twenty-four hours, it should be discarded and replaced with a new one. The type of insulin used, the dose, as well as the number of infusions are picked individually during the consultation with a medical professional.

Pros And Cons of the Product

Of course, when choosing between traditional pumps and patch ones, it is important to consider all pros and cons to pick the best and most suitable option. To make it easier for you, our team gathered all the main factors that can be quite helpful during this process. Let’s start.


  • No mo need for multiple daily insulin injections. The device is programmed to release as many infusions as the doctor recommended to keep blood sugar level within a normal range;
  • Easy delivery of the medication. The product is attached to the body, which means a person won’t need to look for a new insulin administration spot every few hours and make unnecessary needle holes in different areas;
  • Easier technique. There are fewer electronics, batteries, and no need to program the device, so even people with a poor understanding of modern technologies will understand how to use this product;
  • No need to carry supplies around. We are talking about vials, syringes, pens, and cartridges. They can be left in the past if you settle for a patch pump.


  • The training is obligatory to teach a patient how to use the product. It’s not really a con; it’s more of a limitation that should always be considered before trying to use insulin patch pumps;
  • The skin can become irritated in the area of the pump attachment. Swelling, redness, and stickiness are the most common symptoms people experience.

Is There Difference Between Traditional And Patch Insulin Pumps?

Even though the main purpose of both products is the same, traditional and patch insulin pumps are quite different, and based on those differences, the final option is chosen. To make this decision, it is important to understand the main dissimilarities.

The first (and vital) thing is the complexity o the product. While the traditional device has a tube inserted into the body and a cannula meant to transport insulin to the target area, a patch option is attached directly to the skin and doesn’t need any additional tubes to insert the medication. Also, traditional pumps are mostly worn on one’s waist or pocket, which can be quite uncomfortable for some individuals.

On the other hand, traditional pumps can be used for much longer (approximately three days) than patch forms (not more than 24 hours). It’s the question of personal comfort, to be quite honest because both variations do their job perfectly well. That’s why we recommend talking to a medical professional before making the final decision.

The Final Word: More About Patch Insulin Pumps

Insulin patch pumps are a comfortable and improved version of a traditional insulin pump. With the help of this product, you can forget about carrying around syringes, vials, and other supplies with you because this programmed device will do all the work of keeping blood sugar levels under control. Of course, in order to make sure this option is right and safe for an individual, it is crucial to talk with a medical specialist first; only after that can the product be bought and used. It’s all about your safety!

We really hope you have found all information you need in this article. Leave your feedback or ask in case there are any questions. See you in the next article; stay safe!

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