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Insulin Injections vs. Insulin Pump

Are you considering switching from insulin injections to insulin pump therapy? Stacy O’Donnell, RN, BS, CDE, and Andrea Penney, RN, CDE, at Joslin Diabetes Center, give the pros and cons of each method. 

Insulin Injections


  • Injections require less education and training than pump therapy.  “Many people don’t realize the amount of work involved with pumps,” Penney says. “Using a pump requires professional training and close diabetes management.”
  • Injection therapy is cheaper than pump therapy.


  • Low blood glucose levels can occur because you may be using different types of insulin.
  • Frequent injections mean you may develop resistant areas of the body where insulin will not absorb properly.

Insulin Pump


  • The pump delivers insulin continuously throughout the day, causing fewer sudden highs and lows in blood glucose levels. 
  • Insulin delivery is more accurate and precise.
  • There will be less needle sticks. You may have one injection (hook up) every three days versus 15-18 injections in a three-day period with injection therapy, according to O’Donnell.
  • Adjusting your own insulin allows a more flexible lifestyle.


  • There is a greater risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), however, O’Donnell believes this can be prevented.  “Patients are testing blood glucose levels frequently and are also well-educated on what to do if this occurs.”
  • It is attached to your body all day, reminding you and others that you have diabetes.
  • Pump supplies are expensive.

Choosing which insulin delivery method is best for you can be a difficult choice.  Joslin's class Insulin Pumping: Is It for You? can help you decide.

For more information, please call (617) 264-2767.

Page last updated: October 15, 2019