The device from Medtronic was approved for patients with Type 1 diabetes, the kind usually diagnosed during childhood. About 5 percent of the nation's 29 million Americans with diabetes have this type.
Doctors said they have long awaited a device that could help patients around the clock.
“I can't wait to get my hands on it because I can think of a lot of our patients who need this,” said the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Betul Hatipoglu. “Now I have a helper who is going to help me to help them.”
Type 1 diabetes patients now have to manage their insulin through multiple injections throughout the day or a drug pump that delivers it through a tube.
Their own pancreas doesn't make insulin, a hormone needed to turn food into energy. They face increased risks of dangerously high blood-sugar levels, heart disease and many other health problems.
Patients still have to manually increase insulin before meals.
Medtronic said the device will cost between $6,000 and $9,000, similar to its other insulin pumps.
Older insulin pumps simply deliver a baseline level of insulin, and patients must monitor their sugar levels and give themselves more insulin to keep their blood sugar from getting too high. A big danger is having too much insulin in the body overnight, when blood-sugar levels naturally fall. People can go into comas, suffer seizures and even die.
The FDA said it approved the device based on a three-month study of more than 120 patients. The study reported no major adverse events, such as dangerously low blood sugar, showing that the device is safe for those 14 years and up, regulators said in a release.