There is a significant need for revised, safe, and more effective insulin-delivery methods than subcutaneous injections in the treatment of both type I (insulindependent) and type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. The aim of this review is to describe the rationale and methods for better use of injection and infusion devices for intensive insulin therapy and to describe results of animal and human research that will lead to an implantable artificial pancreas. Injection devices, e.g., jet injectors, insulin pens, and access ports, cannot be considered as a major breakthrough in the quest for improved control, although they may improve the patient's comfort. External pumps have benefits over multiple injections and conventional insulin therapy only in specific subgroups of patients, e.g., those with recurrent severe hypoglycemia, but only when used by experienced personnel. The external artificial pancreas (Biostator) is also to be used by experienced personnel for limited clinical and research applications, e.g., surgery of the diabetic patient. The development of an implantable version of the artificial pancreas is linked to progress in the field of reliable long-duration glucose sensors. Finally, programmable implantable insulin pumps, used as an open-loop delivery system, are the most promising alternative to intensive subcutaneous insulin strategies in the short term, although clear evidence of improved safety and efficacy remains to be documented.

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