Navigator Study: Foiled by the Skin

I have seen the future of CGMS, and it looks pretty damn good.  OK, I admit, I just caught a glimpse, ’cause I was disqualified for a current study of the Abbott FreeStyle Navigator in the last round due to potential “skin allergies to medical adhesives.”  Curse those DexCom shower patchesAbbott_navigator (which irritate my skin and made me look iffy here). Curse them!

Anyway, the Navigator is reportedly hekka accurate.  Even my new endo says so.  (More on that later; and no, I’m not giving out any names).  So much more accurate, I hear, that it will blow away existing CGM models.  Maybe.  Man, I would’ve liked to take it for a 90-day test drive.

The receiver is certainly smaller than the DexCom’s — a nice compact-like square thingie — with a FreeStyle blood glucose meter built right in.  That will surely make those many daily calibrations a helluvalot less inconvenient.

The sensor, however, is larger and bulkier than DexCom’s, more akin to the size of an OmniPod insulin pod, looks like.  So that’s one disadvantage.  But the Navigator sensor will be waterproof, which is HUGE.  No need for those irksome shower patches.  To make it waterproof, naturally they’ve got to find the magical medical adhesive that will 1) keep the thing on, even when submerged, and 2) not irritate the heck out of patients’ skin.  Which brings me back to my disqualification: since my skin reacts quite unhappily to the DexCom shower patch, it seems I may be too sensitive to test adhesives — at least not if the master plan is for overwhelmingly positive study results.

I had originally reported that Abbott hoped to get the Navigator on the market by the end of this year.  But that doesn’t seem to be happening now, does it?  Frustrating, but I guess I’m not the only one willing to wait a while longer for something that really and truly is hekka accurate!


Editor’s note: In case you’re wondering, I’m taking a mini-break from my DexCom this week, to give both my belly and my wallet a much-needed reprieve.  I’m still enthusiastic about the company and what they’re doing, but the required 4+ calibrations per day involving hooking up a cable to a traditional monitor that I don’t particularly like (the OneTouch Ultra) can get old — especially when accuracy isn’t great.  *sigh*


9 Responses

  1. Scott K. Johnson
    Scott K. Johnson November 21, 2006 at 7:28 am | | Reply

    Amy, I’m curious to hear how you cope with the lack of so much data!

    I imagine that you might get a little “spoiled” after using the Dexcom a while, and may feel pretty crippled without it.

    Hoping for a post on it later in the week!

  2. AmyT
    AmyT November 21, 2006 at 9:11 am | | Reply

    You’re right, Scott, that’s going to be hard.

    … but maybe not as hard as holding down a job, being a father, blogging, AND being an avid commenter on all the D-blogs! I wonder how you do it.

  3. Jana
    Jana November 21, 2006 at 10:11 am | | Reply

    Amy, are you still looking into getting a pump relatively soon? I’m hoping to be pumping by the time I go home for Xmas, and I have really sensitive skin as well (the main culprits for me are bandaids, scented lotions, and scented laundry detergent). Last week I had my Minimed rep put an infusion set on me so I could see how I reacted to that adhesive. I had the infusion set on the right side of my abdomen, and I did a control with a bandaid on my left. After 3 days I took the infusion set out and took the bandaid off, and after 10 minutes of redness (probably just from pulling the damn SUPER sticky thing off) my skin was fine under the infusion set. However, I still (another 3 days later) have skin peeling from the rash I got from the bandaid (yes, I know, EWW). So it seems that, at least for my skin sensitivities, the infusion sets aren’t a problem at all! So if you were nervous about that part of pumping, perhaps you don’t need to worry either…

  4. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell November 21, 2006 at 12:01 pm | | Reply


    Sorry to hear that your skin sensitivity is causing such problems. I know there are people who can only get 2 days out of an infusion set for this reason.

    Can you share with us how to get onto the list for that Abbott study? I’d LOVE to try a CGMS system, but I don’t have the $$$ to pay for it myself.

    If I thought it would benefit me, then I might be prepared to go through the insurance dance to try and get coverage.

  5. Judy
    Judy November 21, 2006 at 1:54 pm | | Reply

    Hi Amy,
    My brother has had allergic reactions to the adhesives used on dressings this year too. My Sister-in-law works for a medical supply company and found a wipe called a skin barrier wipe to wipe on the skin before applying the adhesive tape of the dressings. This puts a film/barrier between the skin and the adhesive—the tape still sticks but does not irritate the skin or pull off skin when the tape is removed! I can’t remember the company name for the wipe—a medical supply company would know what I am referring to. Might try this wipe and see if it helps. Sure saved him some skin—literally!
    Sure enjoy your blog! I’m not quite to the pump or CGM’s yet—but am getting a preview of things to come, I think! Thanks a lot.

  6. johnboy
    johnboy November 21, 2006 at 2:48 pm | | Reply

    Oh man…I cannot wait for this!
    Please keep your ear to the ground and keep us posted, Amy!!

  7. Wendy Morgan
    Wendy Morgan January 13, 2007 at 2:06 pm | | Reply


    I WAS qualified for the Abbott Study and have been participating for just over 30 days. I am thrilled with the CGM and the accuracy is outstanding; usually within 10mgdl of my finger stick test.

    I did decide to start a blog, as I had to share my experiences god, bad and ugly and I have mostly great things to report. The only sad thing is I will have to give this back when the study is over. Go to if you’d like to see pictures and hear about the pros and cons.

    I feel very fortunate about being part of this trial and would lvoe to hear from other folks who arte participating. Regarding the adhesives, the IV 3000 overbandage I used to keep the transmitter secure was awful on my skin. I had never experienced that before, but that overbandage was torture.

  8. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell March 28, 2007 at 1:50 pm | | Reply


    Did you start back on the Dexcom?

    I’m using it for a week or so and it’s a mixed bag. I’m posting about my experience as I go.

    Trouble is that there are no real alternatives as yet. So maybe it’s worth getting the Dexcom for a year or so and then hoping for something better in 2008.

  9. lger
    lger April 27, 2010 at 11:26 am | | Reply

    I just started on the seven plus last week. I am having times when my Free Style that is built in to my Omnipod is off by at least 20 to 30. I think that is huge. I just got off the phone with Dexcom and they told me to calibrate 3 times (once every 15 minutes). We’ll see if that works. I am on it 6 days now. I also might add that my skin is very sensative also. I first put on a Tegaderm patch before the Omnipod. The insertion goes in right through the Tegaderm. It is much easier to get the pod off with the Tegaderm under it. I wouldn’t use a pod without it. I have been an Omnipod user for the past 3 years. Hope this helps alittle.

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