Unknown Safety and Efficacy of Smartphone Bolus Calculator Apps Puts Patients at Risk for Severe Adverse Outcomes

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Abstract

Manual calculation of bolus insulin dosages can be challenging for individuals treated with multiple daily insulin injections (MDI) therapy. Automated bolus calculator capability has recently been made available via enhanced blood glucose meters and smartphone apps. Use of this technology has been shown to improve glycemic control and reduce glycemic variability without changing hypoglycemia; however, the clinical utility of app-based bolus calculators has not been demonstrated. Moreover, recent evidence challenges the safety and efficacy of these smartphone apps. Although the ability to automatically calculate bolus insulin dosages addresses a critical need of MDI-treated individuals, this technology raises concerns about efficacy of treatment and the protection of patient safety. This article discusses key issues and considerations associated with automated bolus calculator use.

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