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The Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump: a deep dive into the this groundbreaking diabetes tech

Welcome to the wild world of diabetes tech, where gadgets and gizmos help us live our best lives with a little less hassle and a lot more freedom. Today, we’re diving into the Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump, also known as the artificial pancreas. If you’re ready to wave goodbye to carb counting and basal rate adjustments, buckle up!

(Visual/auditory learner? Watch the video instead!!)

The Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump: An Overview

The Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump is an automated insulin delivery system that works with the Dexcom G6 and G7 continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to make insulin adjustment decisions. This pump is a game-changer, primarily because it simplifies diabetes management in ways that other pumps haven’t yet mastered.

How Does It Work?

Unlike traditional insulin pumps, which require extensive user input for basal rates and insulin-to-carb ratios, the iLet simplifies the process. When you start using the pump, you only need to enter your body weight in kilograms. That’s it. The pump uses this single data point to set dynamic basal rates, which adjust autonomously. The basal rate is limited to 0.05 units per hour per kilogram of body mass.

Every five minutes, the iLet reads your CGM data and makes dosing decisions. It uses a unique algorithm to determine the correct dose based on your glucose profile from the past 24 hours, your current CGM glucose, and insulin on board. It’s like having a personal diabetes assistant working around the clock.

Meal Dosing: Usual, Less, or More?

Meal announcements are still required with the iLet, but forget about entering exact carb counts. Instead, the pump uses a method called “usual, less, or more” for dosing.

  • Usual: Your typical amount of carbs.

  • Less: About 50% less than your usual amount.

  • More: About 50% more than your usual amount.

For example, if you typically eat 45 grams of carbs for lunch, you’d select “usual” for a 45-gram meal. If you’re eating a larger meal, select “more,” and if you’re eating a smaller meal, select “less.” The iLet adapts over time, learning your patterns for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Advantages of the Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump

1. No More Carb Counting

One of the standout features of the iLet is that it eliminates the need for carb counting. No more fussing over every gram of carbohydrate you consume. The pump’s intelligent algorithm takes care of the calculations, allowing you to focus on enjoying your meals.

2. Reduced Mental Burden

Diabetes management often involves constant mental calculations and adjustments. The iLet significantly reduces this burden by automating insulin delivery based on your body’s needs. This means less stress and more time to live your life without the constant worry of managing your blood sugar levels.

3. Pre-filled Cartridges

For those with dexterity issues or anyone who wants a more convenient option, the iLet offers pre-filled cartridges. These cartridges simplify the process of loading insulin into the pump, making it easier and quicker to use.

4. Compatibility with Fiasp

The iLet is approved for use with Fiasp, a rapid-acting insulin. This is particularly beneficial given the pump’s dosing method, which may deliver a portion of the dose upfront and the rest over time. Fiasp’s fast action can help manage blood sugar spikes effectively.

5. Wireless Charging

Say goodbye to tangled wires and misplaced chargers. The iLet uses wireless charging technology, similar to the iPhone’s MagSafe system. Just place the pump on the charging pad, and it powers up. You can even request a second charger to keep at work or another convenient location.

Disadvantages of the Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump

1. No Manual Mode

One of the significant downsides is the lack of a manual mode. If your CGM runs out or fails, the pump doesn’t revert to a manual mode with preset basal rates and ratios. Instead, it requires finger sticks every four hours to continue operating, which can be less precise and more cumbersome.

2. Not Ideal for Grazers

If you’re someone who prefers eating multiple small meals throughout the day, the iLet might not be the best fit. The pump works best with structured meals rather than frequent snacking. However, with some trial and error, you can find a routine that works for you.

3. Limited CGM Compatibility

Currently, the iLet is compatible only with the Dexcom G6 and G7. While this might change in the future with potential integration of other CGMs like the Libre, for now, your options are limited to these models.

4. Rechargeable Battery

The iLet comes with a specific rechargeable battery, which might not be compatible with third-party chargers. However, Beta Bionics will provide a second battery if requested, ensuring you’re never left without power.

Who Should Consider the iLet Insulin Pump?

The iLet is perfect for people who:

  • Want to reduce the mental burden of diabetes management.

  • Are comfortable with letting technology handle their insulin dosing.

  • Prefer structured meals rather than frequent small snacks.

  • Do not require extremely tight glucose control, such as pregnant women or those awaiting a transplant.

However, if you’re someone who needs precise control over every aspect of your diabetes management or if you prefer a more hands-on approach, the iLet might not be the best fit for you.

Getting Started with the iLet Insulin Pump

When you first start using the iLet, it’s essential to keep your routine consistent. Avoid trying new foods, increasing your activity levels, or making other significant changes. This helps the pump learn your usual carbohydrate intake and insulin needs more accurately.

Over time, the iLet will adapt to your lifestyle and become more efficient in managing your blood sugar levels. Remember, the goal is to keep things simple and let the pump do its job without overcomplicating the process.

Final Thoughts

The Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump is a revolutionary step forward in diabetes management. It’s ideal for those who want to reduce the mental load of diabetes care and are okay with not having manual control over their pump’s settings. It’s not for everyone, especially those who need very tight glucose control or prefer frequent small meals, but for many, it’s a dream come true.

Are you excited about the Beta Bionics iLet Insulin Pump? Is this method of dosing something you already do, or is it new to you? Let me know! Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more diabetes tech updates and tips.


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