Pod Failure: The OmniPod Problem



Pod Failure: The OmniPod ProblemThis past January, I celebrated my first insulin pump anniversary. I wrote a blog post in which I discussed the pros and cons of the insulin pump that I use, the OmniPod, to mark the occasion. Generally speaking, my post was a glowing review of the system and I still firmly believe that choosing to go on the OmniPod is one of the best decisions I have made regarding my diabetes. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that my post focused more so on what I like best about the pump and how these features help me.

It wouldn’t have been a true review, though, if I didn’t highlight what I dislike about the pod. The most prominent item on my list of cons was pod failures—they’re disruptive, discouraging, and downright frustrating. Fortunately for me, I experienced less than a handful of pod failures in my first year in a half of using the OmniPod. This all changed this past April and May, when I experienced nearly ten pod failures total.

It all started one Monday morning—I was getting settled at work when I heard an aggressive and ceaseless beeping sound, indicating pod failure. I joked about it with my manager, brushing it off as a random incident and saying something to the effect of, “I guess my pod didn’t feel like showing up to work today, either!” I drove home, retrieved my insulin, drove back to work, and changed my pod in a meeting room. It was not the ideal way to start a fresh work week, but I took it in stride.

But then it happened a second time, that same week. It was nearly the same scenario as what had unfolded that Monday. Except this time, it pissed me off. I knew it was odd to experience a second pod failure in one week. Again, I drove home and got what I needed, and applied a fresh pod. I called OmniPod (again) and asked for another replacement pod. They were happy to oblige.

Irritatingly and inexplicably, a pattern emerged in which once or twice a week, for 5-6 straight weeks, my pod would fail. Each time, I would call OmniPod to explain the situation and request a replacement pod. I told them how almost every time, the pods would fail approximately 24 hours prematurely—so instead of routinely changing them every 3 days, I was now changing them every other day.

They asked me the standard gamut of questions after my explanation: Was I rotating my sites? Was I pinching up my skin during the application process? Did I notice anything unusual during the pod change process? Was the cannula kinked? Was there blood? My answers were like reflexes: Yes, yes, no, no, no. The first few phone calls ended the same way, with them promising to send me a replacement pod and apologizing profusely for my troubles.

The tables turned and I started asking the questions after my fourth or fifth failure. I wanted to know if other OmniPod users were reporting issues with pods from the same batch as mine. I wanted to know if this was unusual. I wanted to know, more than anything else, why I was encountering these issues now after a year and a half of using the system with scarcely any issues.

While the people at OmniPod were very sympathetic and courteous to me, I was upset with the “solutions” they provided me:

A) I could either ask my endocrinologist to change my pod prescription for more frequent pod changes, or

B) I could go on a pump holiday. I couldn’t help but feel ripped off, because to me, neither of these options seemed feasible. I already feel a bit of inconvenience having to change my pod every 3 days, and taking a break from pumping sounded like an awful idea. It was hard to imagine having to go back to multiple daily injections after enjoying the freedom and improved A1c that the OmniPod helped me achieve. So I came up with and decided on option

C) Conduct my own investigation into my pod problem.

Conveniently, I happen to live in the same household as another T1D who uses the OmniPod (hi, Mom). I took one of her new pods, from a completely different lot number than mine, and gave her a “bad pod” to see if my intuition about the batch was correct. And my discovery was…

…my batch was indeed faulty; however, it was seemingly only malfunctioning on me. My mom didn’t experience any issues from the bad pod, but I did manage to successfully wear her pod for the 3 day timespan. Weird, right?

This experience taught me a few things:

First, trust your intuition. When it comes to diabetes, we T1Ds know a thing or two. I knew that it didn’t make any sense for my pods to just stop working for me. I’m glad that I didn’t just give up and resign to the fact that I might have to change my pods every other day or even look into getting a different pump.

Second, don’t be afraid to talk to doctors, pump reps, and anyone else who may need to get involved when you’re having a problem. I consulted my endocrinologist and my diabetes educator regarding the whole ordeal, and they were very supportive of me trying to get to the bottom of it. I also contacted OmniPod close to a dozen times to get insight from their team as well as replacements for the bad pods. My last call with them resulted in me sending back my remaining ten pods from the defective lot and, in turn, OmniPod shipping ten brand new pods to me from a different lot number.

Third, don’t underestimate the power of site rotation! I’m just about convinced that this was a factor into my problem. I never use the same site two times in a row, but I do tend to resort to using my arms more than any other location. This means I’ve conquered my irrational fear of placing my OmniPod on my thighs, so now I have my stomach, lower back, arms, and thighs (on the right and left sides for each) as potential OmniPod real estate. And guess what? I kind of like having so many places to choose from, though I’m not sure how I’ll manage to put a pod on my legs when skinny jeans season comes rolling around again…

I’m still a happy OmniPod customer. If anything, this experience has made me a little more cautious, but definitely still grateful for the convenience and better diabetes management that the OmniPod has brought into my life.


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LindaBalaPamT1D FiancePatrick Recent comment authors
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Wow, this is pertinent for me. I started with Omnipod in July 2019; its now November. The very first PDM was defective (of course, I thought it was me); had to have yet another replacement since. Now its a surprise “No Active Pod” after 24 hrs. Not the first problem, but the first of this kind. I wonder if its “static” as another commenter mentioned. I was out walking my dogs in the frigid air at a rapid clip..the reps at Omnipod never suggested static. How do you avoid that?? I don’t want to go back to tubes/Medtronic yet…but I’m… Read more »


I moved from Medtronics to try Omnipod for last 4 months since I thought tubeless is a great feature. That is a big mistake as Omnipod is rudimentary compared to Medtronics in every aspect. The biggest issue is every 1 out of 3 pods hit occlusion issue (I never hit this in my 4 years use of Medtronics), and the pain is more when I remove the pod after 2 or 3 days as I suspect the pod is heavier with insulin compared to Medtronics one and also, the pod adhesive covers bigger area and very itchy. Please analyze every… Read more »


I really enjoyed the insight. I seem to have a bad box of Omnipods also, (pretty much every one failed within 1-2 days) and what’s most frustrating is the waste of insulin. I am on FIASP, which I really like, but Omnipod will not replace my lost insulin because FIASP is not yet approved in the US. I’m certain that the FIASP has nothing to do with the pod failure–that just happens randomly, like yours. Just standing somewhere, or like today–vacuuming. Are there better pumps out there? (I need waterproof). Maybe I need better sites also–My arms are taken by… Read more »

T1D Fiance
T1D Fiance

My fiance just finally got the omnipod and dexcom. Been using the pod system for about a month or so now. He was so excited to start making progress and have less frustration with this set up. Unfortunately, he has had more frustrations than success with the omnipod. As of now. he is having a 50% fail rate with the pods. He’s rotating sites, he’s pinching, keeping it air tight. Some last the full 3 days… others have lasted 8hrs and in between. He’s been talking to his endocrinologist, pump rep, etc but still getting these random failings. Having been… Read more »


I am relatively new to the OmniPod, however; I have been diabetic for 36 years so to say that I am a little frustrated with the 15% pod failure rate I’ve experience during the 2 months I’ve been on the pump is a bit of an understatement. I appreciate your efforts to get information out there regarding this… it appears that there is an inherent flaw in the pods because the date on your article is almost 2 years prior to my posting this comment. It also appears to me that OmniPod is aware of this issue. One the plus… Read more »


My daughter experienced the same thing you experienced. When I called the company they were very helpful. The error that caused the malfunction was due to static.


Thank you for sharing this information Molly! I have been using Omnipod for 3 years and recently I have had trouble with my pods leaking insulin. I don’t get any notice of pod failure – just high high blood sugars and then realize there is insulin on the adhesive. I am wondering if it my skin/tissue. I move the location of my pod every change – however, they are always on my tummy. I am wondering if completely moving the pod to another location on my body would stop the leaking. Ever heard of this problem? Just a theory. I… Read more »


Molly, I’m so happy I found your post. Your story is exactly what I’ve experienced, right down to the conversations and changes in tone with Omnipod customer service. I don’t have any other type ones in my life, so I just thought I’m going crazy or that my body must have some weird quality that causes pods to fail.

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