Tubeless Insulin Pumps?

OmniPod tubeless insulin pump systemA new tubelesss insulin pump is improving the health and quality of life for diabetes type 1 sufferers. The OmniPod Insulin Management System from Insulet Corporation has been approved for use by the FDA since January 2005 and is available now.

Advocated by diabetes specialists as the most effective treatment for patients taking insulin, insulin pump therapy has been shown through clinical studies to reduce risks of long-term complication, by up to 76%. Also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy (CSII), it lets patients fine-tune their insulin dosing, and frees them from the pain and aggravation of daily multiple injections.

While using lower doses of insulin, CSII offers more reliable glycemic control. It also lowers both blood glucose level swings, and the risk of hypoglycemia events.

Despite these benefits, usage of CSII therapy in the diabetes community is still limited, due to the complexity, expense, and inconvenience of standard insulin pump technology. Not many people want to have a cellphone-like gizmo strapped to their body 24 hours a day dangling long plastic tubes that get caught and tangled up Enter the OmniPod.

2 Part System

No tubing is used by the OmniPod; the device attaches directly to the skin by a cannula that is automatically and painlessly inserted subcutaneously with the push of a button. Filled with enough insulin to last three days, the pod weighs only 1.2 ounces and is about the size of half a kiwi-fruit.

The other part of the system is the “Personal Diabetes Manager” (PDM) a wireless handheld computer you carry in your purse or pocket that looks pretty much like a PDA handheld. The PDM contains your personalized insulin delivery instructions, wirelessly monitoring and controling the OmniPod’s operation. It also incorporates a FreeStyle blood glucose meter. The system received FDA approval in January 2005.

One blogger, Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine, offers a running commentary on her experiences with the OmniPod. In one post, she reflects on her first five weeks on the device, and elsewhere comments on her first impressions of the OmniPod: “I am so happy not injecting and not wearing tubing and achieving better control, that I could kiss someone. (Where is that cat?) Right now, I feel like I could never go back!”