Shopping for a new insulin pump: Who’s selling?

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Medipacs ( http://www.medipacs.com/ ) is a start-up making small drug infusion pumps using an expandable polymer, rather than the standard syringe-pump system. Nowhere near market, but I encourage smaller and simpler pump design!

I have long complained about the Medtronic Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), but for a little while, I had made peace with the sucker because I had entered some sort of CGM zen in which I could use a single sensor for two weeks, and in a couple of cases, nearly a month. It was amazing. Two boxes lasted so long that the last few actually expired.

With longevity like that, I could overlook the inaccuracies and idiosyncrasies of the Medtronic sensor as compared to the Dexcom. It hurts like hell, but if I only need to harpoon myself once every three weeks, whatever!

But then it stopped. Two boxes of magic sensors, and now I can get maybe 7 days, if I’m lucky. Back to where I started. Shit.

And so, I find my mind wandering. I think of that Omnipod rep I see everywhere in San Diego (John? Josh? I’ve got his business card somewhere…), and his promise of a new Omnipod and a new Dexcom sometime this year. Hmm. And I start searching for images and press releases (sensor porn?).

Looks like the new Dexcom is hoped for sometime this year. More accurate, better, blah blah– what really gets me is that they ditched that stupid egg-shaped sensor, and are going with a slimmer, boxier one. Thank goodness. Who would ever design a giant, black, egg-shaped receiver? Do you know of any popular consumer electronic devices that are egg-shaped?

Medtronic has been promising a new, better sensor for a while now, but, well, I won’t wait forever. My patience has expired.

If I switch to the Dexcom sensor, though, why bother sticking with the Medtronic pump? I have used a Medtronic pump since I started pumping in 2005, when the only choices offered by Kaiser were Medtronic and Animas, and I kept with the Medtronic so I could have the integrated CGM and pump. But the pump itself is very utilitarian. If I get a new CGM– do I want a new pump, too? Which one?

The Tandem t:slim is the hot new kid on the block. But then I’m carrying around two receivers, for the Dexcom and the t:slim, plus a meter. And the slick black screen is cool, and the iPhone-ish design is a big step forward… but it’s still not that small. I mean, neat, yeah, but not like, “Oh wow, I’m going to go through all the trouble of arguing Kaiser should cover this” neat.

I like the Omnipod in theory. A patch pump, with a purse-able receiver is an attractive idea. And I admit I’m a sucker for their marketing approach– “We are the pump of diabetic athletes!” they seem to say, and I find myself thinking, “Well, maybe if I had that pump, I would be a diabetic athlete!” But then when I look at the pump– it’s still kind of big. That’s a big lump to have attached to my arm or torso or whatever. The new one (this summer?) is going to be smaller… but only by a third, which is still not the svelte nubbin I was hoping for.

The real question for me is, given the weight and size of the pod, how much shear stress can it take before it comes off? The Omnipod seems popular among kids, which is promising– kids probably go through way more wear and tear than I do. But I see kids with the pods strapped on or otherwise doubly-adhered. Do I have to? How often am I going to have to deal with a pod that’s fallen off due to jostling and sweating? And, okay, let me just be direct: how much sex does it take to un-adhere an Omnipod?

When I saw the Cellnovo last year at the American Diabetes Association conference, I thought that was a sexy pump. I totally want that. But there’s the whole FDA issue there. Darn.

Recommendations? Advice? Votes? Any insulin pump reps out there want to make a case?

 

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Comments (8)

  1. We’re at almost three years with OmniPod. My daughter started wearing it when she was a tiny five-year-old. It has withstood gymnastics, daily swim every day for eight weeks in the summer, countless dance classes, and ice skating. We rarely knock one off and we rarely have to use extra adhesive to keep it on. In fact, we have to use baby oil to loosen the adhesive to get it off because that sucker really sticks on her.
    Tubeless is great. And the fact that she doesn’t have to have the PDM on her person was a big plus for us. Of course if/when there is DexCom integration she’ll presumably have to have the PDM closer by. But I have read that the next gen Dex has a much longer range.
    For us, it has worked out great. (Caveat: we have no experience with tubed pumps.)

  2. Judi at

    Would love to know if you hear of anything new that’s soon to be released. My Cozmo is way out of warranty but there doesn’t seem to be anything better on the market as yet. 

  3. Nathan at

    I’m in the same boat, anxious for new technology, loyal to integrated devices, and at the end of a warranty cycle…
    I’ve been able to get 6-7 days out of my Medtronic sensors, and I also have a stockpile developing. Using expired ones now, but they work fine. Good thing you can go a bit longer on them, insertion hurts too much to change out every 3 days. 
    I have a feeling that I might have to live through one more warranty cycle before some of my device dreams really come true. Dexcom is promising to work with everyone, but it takes time.

  4. Jan at

    Check a site you can find with the search term TuDiabetess.  Lots of good info about things there.  I, and many others get 2+ weeks out or our DexCom sensors.

  5. Lesley at

    I’ve been wearing the Omnipod forever (at least since 2006) and I love it. I originally chose it because it is tubeless & that’s what works best for me. I have only had trouble with adhesion during very vigorous exercise when it is super humid — too much sweat around the site can make one fall off. I have used Bands 4 Life with some success though – and if I am able to just let more air hit the site, it is fine. And — I have never lost one during sex – not even during a lot of sex ;) I know it wouldn’t work for everyone, but I love it & wouldn’t change. My daughter uses the Medtronic Revel and while I occasionally wish I could disconnect (a hot bath anyone?), I still wouldn’t trade for having the tubing and having to be able to touch the pump in order to bolus, etc. Good luck in your decisions!

  6. Natasha Bowlds at

    My son is almost 12 and has been wearing the Omnipod since his 9th birthday.  I agree with the other parents on here – he plays basketball and soccer pretty roughly, and football with his friends (with all the tackling, rolling on the ground etc. involved in pick-up sports with your friends) and has rarely knocked one off.  He also really loves the tubeless option – refused to think about anything with tubes after a painful 10 minute trial of the animas pump.

  7. isaac at

    I tell everyone that i know to stay far away from the omnipod. 

    The concept is great and the pods are a bit on the bulky side but the issue with them is that at least 1/4 of all pods that i tried were failing. I can deal with an extra set change every few days but the real deal breaker is that the PDM has no idea when the pods fail. So essentially i would go hours until my sugar was completely out of control before i would realize what was going on. 

    My endo warned me about the issue with failing pods but i never anticipated it being as bad as it was. I dont even know how the FDA let this one by, but if you value your health and want to minimize any of the long term damage caused by high blood sugar stick with a traditional pump until the wireless technology improves significantly.  

  8. Ellen at

    My  11 year old son has had the omni pod for just over 2 weeks, we also have the  dexcomG4 we love them both. He is able to act like the boys his age. We have played baseball and can say the new Dexcom can pick him up on the field the range is pretty good. The omni pod we have had a few alarms but I think it was his being a little rough and forgetting he had it on. He is a very thin boy and having the pod on him doesn’t bother him at all he has both the pod and the dexcom on and I likes to refer to himself as Robo Cop because of all the devices he has stuck to him. About the size of the pod they are about 40 percent smaller and we see no lump under his t shirts. We are going to be starting football soon and we are a little worriEd about the full contact and the pod. 

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