Have you ever thought about upgrading your lancet system? I myself use the lancing device that my doctor ordered for me, and have never really thought twice about it. There are many different lancets with different features available, but for the most part it seems like they are all fundamentally similar products. I couldn’t say that I like my lancet – who likes anything about fingerpricks? But the lancet remains an unavoidable and vital part of daily diabetes management. With so much innovation in diabetes technology lately, is it time to ask for a better lancet?
Pip Lancets try to answer that question with a genuinely new design. Each Pip lancet is a self-contained and disposable single-use lancing system. With Pip, there is never any need to load an exposed needle into a lancing device. The Pip lancet is ready to go – grab a new lancet, twist off the cap, press it into your finger, and toss it in the trash.
The company touts them as “simple, safe, painless,” and I can happily confirm that this marketing claim is totally accurate. They are extremely simple to use, far simpler than a regular lancet & lancing device combo. They are certainly safe – you never have to deal with an exposed needle. There is no fuss or complication involved in the system. The lancets are also uncommonly good looking, the product of modern, clean, attractive design.
And as for “painless,” they are easily the least painful lancets that I’ve ever used. They are so painless that I don’t even understand how it’s possible to be so painless. This alone is a heck of an achievement.
Certain types of patients are especially likely to appreciate the Pip lancet system. Firstly, those with needle phobia, a very real fear that afflicts many people with diabetes. Pip is certainly the thing for those that are uneasy, anxious or downright terrified of needles. You don’t have to load the lancets, which means you don’t ever need to see an exposed needle, let alone repeatedly touch one.
Another class of patients likely to benefit include children, the elderly, and anyone else that may be less sure-fingered. Replacing the lancet of a traditional lancing system represents an obvious risk of accidental stabbing: you need to open up the lancing device, expose the old needle, pinch it with your fingers to remove it from the device, dispose of it properly, and then do all the steps in reverse to load a fresh lancet. (The Pip system was inspired by the lancets that are used in hospitals, which do not unnecessarily expose either the patient or the caregiver to a naked needle point.)
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Single-use? Change my lancets every time? People really do that? Many people with diabetes change their lancets only very rarely, and if you’ve spent much time in the diabetes online community, you’ve probably even seen memes and jokes celebrating this fact. (Although some of the jokes do play on the downsides of infrequent lancet changes.)
Yes, as you’ve no doubt been told by a diabetes educator or two, you are supposed to change your lancets every time you use them. If you pin a CDE down, you might get him or her to admit that reusing lancets is neither dangerous nor terribly harmful. At the same time, there’s no question that a new and perfectly sharp lancet is better than a reused one. The duller the lancet is, the more unpleasant and ragged its entry through the skin, which leads to microscopic scarring and callous development. We’ve all suffered minor fingertip injuries before – those times that it is randomly excruciatingly painful, when bruises develop, or when repeated pricks don’t deliver enough blood to satisfy the glucometer. All these annoyances happen more frequently with dull lancets than with sharp ones.
Truth be told, I’m generally an “every once in a while” lancet changer, which put me in an initially skeptical position about Pip’s offering. As soon as I began using the Pip lancets, however, I realized that the primary reason I’ve been reusing my own lancets is pure laziness. Loading a fresh lancet into a regular lancing device is an awkward and time-consuming process, and if I’m pricking myself more than a few times a day, the idea of switching lancets every single time becomes ridiculous. The Pip system immediately and completely removes that problem, because it’s so fast to use. There’s no work to do. Your fresh lancet is always ready to rock.
Another reason I had stopped changing lancets frequently is the annoyance of spent lancet disposal. Sure, I have a sharps container at home, but I don’t carry one with me, and I have no interest in carrying a little case of tiny exposed needles everywhere I go. The Pip lancets are still classified as sharps, and it is recommended that you dispose of them in a proper sharps container. But you can simply pop the used lancet in your pocket or purse and safely dispose of it later, without running any risk of poking yourself or others. You couldn’t hurt yourself with a used Pip lancet even if you tried.
I think the product is a clear success, but I still have a few concerns. First is the amount of waste: I don’t feel great about sending a small heap of tiny plastic parts to the landfill if I don’t really need to do it. Second, the fact that they can’t be reused even in an emergency does give me pause. The small carrying case that they helpfully provide holds 8 lancets, which is enough for most trips out of the home, but what about those occasions where you find yourself in a rollercoaster, needing to check many times in a short period of time? What if you run out of lancets? I might find myself wanting to pack a traditional lancet as a backup.
Lastly, there’s the price. Pip Lancets cost 16 cents per lancet, $16 for a box of 100 (shipping is free). 16 cents isn’t all that much, but it cannot compare to a traditional lancet that realistically may be reused many times, maybe even dozens of times, and ultimately costs only a fraction of a penny per drop of blood.
For some, though, the price may well be easily justified by the obvious design improvements. If you or the person with diabetes that you care for is worried about needles, or just sick and tired of the pain of fingersticks, Pip is absolutely worth trying. For only $8 they’ll ship you a sample box containing 50 lancets of three different sizes. It’s an attractive offer.
At the moment, Pip lancets are only available at their website, or on Amazon, and they are currently only shipping to the U.S. They encourage you to request a reimbursement from your insurance company, and hope to be more widely available in the future.
This is sponsored content. Opinions belong to the author.