Close Encounter: an OmniPod User

Tuesday night I had drinks with a very smart diabetes-savvy lady named Kelly Close. Kelly runs her own consultancy, CloseConcerns, that conducts diabetes and obesity research for a number of top-notch firms. Naturally, she is very well-connected in the Diabetes Community. She also recentlyClose started a blog on her website with updates on industry news. (Click Weblog in the left-had nav bar).

I learned so much! (and the wine was great…)

Kelly’s group evaluates all manner of new developments and new companies in the diabetes space. In particular, they look closely at new drugs and their “side effect profiles,” i.e. weight gain, edema, gastrointestinal problems, or effects on the CNS (central nervous system) — always major factors in vying for FDA approval. Safety first, right?

But Kelly noted that in her opinion, the flap about Symlin causing hypoglycemia is somewhat silly: it’s insulin that causes hypoglycemia. The trouble is that many Symlin users fail to adjust their insulin doses properly.

She also clarified the three major roadblocks to the artificial pancreas concept:

- need for an accurate sensor working internally in the patient’s body
- algorithm problems: the equation in the pump has to be exactly right, or dosing may be very wrong
- need for a counter-regulatory mechanism, i.e. you may need a chamber with glucagon that can be released to counteract an overdose of insulin or unexpected physical activity*

*reminds you how remarkable nature is, with all these checks and balances built right in to a real, healthy pancreas (sigh…)

Anyway, most interesting of all: Kelly is actually on the new Insulet OmniPod pump! A Type 1 since age 15 and a highly motivated patient, she was in one of the clinical studies and was allowed to continue on the new tubeless pump. It really is as neat as it looks! She’s got the little pod attached to one upper arm, and the PalmPilot-like controller unit also doubles as the glucose meter, so only one thing to carry!

Oooh, I went home a little tipsy, very well-informed, and with a bad case of device envy…

5 Responses

  1. Kirk
    Kirk November 3, 2005 at 11:10 am | | Reply

    Find me a study that shows how wonderful it is for diabetes and I will run after it as fast as I can. Evrything I have read about it is to the contrary. As of yet there is no magic bullet for us Type 1s other than dedication, perserveranc and doign what has to be done.

    48 years and still counting

  2. ANDREA
    ANDREA November 3, 2005 at 11:29 am | | Reply

    I’ve seen the OmniPod Pump Website and my CDE/dietician has mentioned it…I want one, too :) . However, I’m on the MM511 (not too happy about it) and I think I still have 2 more years on warranty and I doubt I’ll be able to get it. It’s pretty cool, huh? Can you describe it some more?

  3. Jaynet
    Jaynet November 3, 2005 at 2:48 pm | | Reply

    Amy, I just found your site and after 16 years, I can appreciate your positive infusion of diabetes energy.

    The Omnipod sounds so snazzy and liberating at a first glance! Its about time for me to get a new pump, so I’ve been thinking about this option.

    I wonder though how comfortable it is. I include my hips and lower back for infusion sites now. I’m thinking that sleeping on a pod in these locations would cause some irritation…can anyone speak to this?

  4. E.
    E. November 3, 2005 at 3:14 pm | | Reply

    I have been searching for someone who is actually using the omnipod. Little confused about it being on the shoulder though. Currently I use my stomach or butt for my infusion sites. Can’t really imagine using my shoulder. Could you post more?

    Thanks!

  5. Payam
    Payam July 29, 2006 at 2:16 am | | Reply

    Hi,

    I’m Payam. My beloved 3 year old nephew was discovered to be diabetic type 1 aroud 10 days ago. My sorrow is beyond belief. After spending some time on the web we decided that CSII therapy is a must and OmniPod is THE choice. Turns out OmniPod is not yet? distributed outside the States. FDA has approved it just for inside the States. And naturally a prescription is needed. Thing is, we are living in Iran and even though speaking English is not a barrier for us especially when it comes to contactng OmniPod customer supper or reading/applying OmniPod mannuals and whatnot and even though we are ready, able to and willing to pay for the PDA, the backup PDA, and test tape and supplies of one full year and again even though we do have relatives/friends inside the States to buy/send us the product, OmniPod says they can’t let us have it unless we are there and we have a prescription written by a physisian inside the states. I phoned OmniPod’s customer support a couple minutes ago. They said there is no way on earth they’re gonna send us the product. Well it’s reasonable but I wish they could see this little child’s face from his uncle/parents point of view. I’m so down I can barely breathe. Can you think of a ‘work around’? Question is: How can we possibly have this OmniPod despite the aforementioned criteria?
    We’re gonna need your help. Will you help us? Let me know your opinion preferably thru my email: payam7777777@hotmail.com

    Best.

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