The Other iPort

Let me start by saying that unlike Apple’s wall-mounted docking station for the iPod, this product is not for everyone. The other iPort stands for injection port, a little extended-wear doohickey that attaches to your skin for easy injecting, without the need for repeated skin punctures. If you’re already a happy insulin pumper, take a pass. If, however, you’re newly diagnosed, just getting used to injections, or want a “vacation” from your pump, this may be the gizmo for you.

Launched about 4 months ago, Patton Medical’s iPort is essentially like a stand-alone pump infusion set, inserted via cannula. It can accommodate up to 75 injections in the 72-hour wear time. It’s waterproof for bathing, swimming, and exercising.

Iport_at_work

The iPort is FDA approved for use with all kinds of insulin, Byetta, Symlin, growth hormones, fertility drugs and other injectables. It’s already covered by over 100 health plans, including 20-25 Blue Cross groups, several state Medicads, and the military TriCare plan.

Why the quick mass adoption, you ask? The company says it’s a no-brainer: if this simple tool can help lots of patients be more “compliant,” it’s a win-win-win situation for physicians, medical plans, and patients alike.

“If you’re complaint and pro-active, it’s not an issue, but 2/3 of people on insulin are not in good control… They might be taking 3 shots of rapid-acting insulin and Lantus every day, but it’s that corrective post-prandial dose they’re not doing, because they don’t want to stick themselves anymore,” says Patton COO Rick Wittenbraker.

The iPort is handy for any kind of injections, but it’s worth noting that company was actually founded by a woman in her late ’20s diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while pregnant with her first child. “KK” Patton was a horse trainer and pro rider in Texas, who happened to be married to a patent attorney. Long story short, she hated both injections and wearing a pump, and believed there had to be a better way. She developed a prototype with the help of some colleagues, and founded a company to sell the idea.

Chalk one up for diabetic ingenuity.

With coverage, iPort supplies cost an average of $25 month. So there’s additional overhead, but also an added benefit, Wittenbraker says. “We have so many parents who are excited to have this for their diabetic children. And we have a ton of pump users now using iPort for their Symlin. They don’t want to go back on shots.”

19 Responses

  1. Scott
    Scott June 18, 2007 at 7:00 am | | Reply

    This is a dumb idea that offers no clinical benefit over regular, subcutaneous injection. Unlike Disetronic Medical Systems’ DiaPort, which offers long-term intraperitoneal insulin administration, thus eliminating delays caused by subcutaneous delivery of insulin, and shortening the time-activity profile of regular human insulin to something akin to an analog. Details can be seen at http://www.disetronic.com/files/63.asp?menuId=63&languageId=2&productId=42 .

  2. Dave
    Dave June 18, 2007 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    Before I was a pump wearing diabetic I would have used this in a heart beat!! Can’t really understand why it is a “dumb idea” especially if you are giving yourself 6-8 shots a day or you are a child and scared of needles!!! Me personally “I love having needle marks all over my body….OK so I am lying!!! Some people are just to smart for their own good!!

  3. Mel
    Mel June 18, 2007 at 7:35 am | | Reply

    Scott, I almost vomited when I went to the link you sent… The iPort seems like a great idea compared to implanting that metal thing in my stomach. not to mention that nice scar the patient will surely have. I also think it’s a great idea for kids who just aren’t ready for the pump yet, but find that injections just plain stink (because, well they do stink!).

    Amy, I had seen the iPort a couple of months ago, but didn’t think that it really applied to me. I also am considering Symlin–you made the connection for me! :) Thanks.

  4. Kevin D.
    Kevin D. June 18, 2007 at 7:56 am | | Reply

    The Diaport has a LONG list of problems not to mention scar tissue (under the skin), marks where the port is on top of the skin, it is VERY prone to insulin crystalization meaning it’s not very accurate, and it has to be SURGICALLY moved every few years. So where’s the benefit?

    If you think the diaport is anything good read the following…

    http://www.insulin-pumpers.org.uk/diaport/

    Not only does the site and scar look ugly, the user said she had to continually up her basal rate in a year of using it. Not to mention, you can’t use any of the “log” insulins (Novolog, Apidra, Humalog) as they are guaranteed to crystalize.

    I have actually considered at times giving up pumping and going with the Iport. I love the pump, but the main reason I’m on it now is because of numerous injections and the basal rate profiles I can get.

  5. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes June 18, 2007 at 8:05 am | | Reply

    Diabetes Mine: The Other iPort

    I’ve actually TRIED the iPort — and still have a partial box. I’ll save them in caseI have surgery again but they aren’t worth the hassle. You’ll find more about them if you check my archives. The other iPort stands…

  6. Trusted.MD Network
    Trusted.MD Network June 18, 2007 at 8:11 am | | Reply

    Diabetes Mine: The Other iPort

    I’ve actually TRIED the iPort — and still have a partial box.  I’ll save them in case I have surgery again but they aren’t worth the hassle.  You’ll find more about them if you check my archives.  The other iPort stands…

  7. Scott
    Scott June 18, 2007 at 8:53 am | | Reply

    Actually, I read all the insulin-pumpers postings, and its worth mentioning that DiaPort is still in trials, and the trials are supposed to reveal those issues. However, as to the comments on analogs, the entire point is that the time-activity profile of regular insulin delivered directly into the bloodstream is minutes vs. hours for subcutaneous delivery, so there would be no need for any insulin analog under those circumstances. We should not forget that in humans without diabetes have only regular insulin circulating in the bloodstream anyway – regular.

    As for the iPort, I was involved in some early research on this concept a number of months ago, and I still think the idea is dumb, having no clinical benefit to justify paying for it. I suppose if someone would avoid insulin because of fear of needles, then perhaps it serves a limited purpose, but I don’t consider having to access a port placed someplace on the abdomen to make things any more convenient. There is also some evidence that subcutaneous tissue damage can occur from infusion sets or items like the iPort. The concept is a dog!

  8. Dave
    Dave June 18, 2007 at 9:51 am | | Reply

    Subcutaneous tissue damage can’t be any worse for your body than being diabetic. I guess Scott that is why you are a former pumper and not still currently pumping. If I gave myself 6 shots a day for the next 50 years that would be 109,500 shots. That certainly is not better than the 7,200 infusion sets that I would use for the same amount of time. I respect your right to have your own opinion even though I totally disagree with it!!

  9. Jonah
    Jonah June 18, 2007 at 10:52 am | | Reply

    I took off my second I-PORT yesterday.
    They need infusion sets, and I wasn’t so thrilled about the bruising.
    I dunno, I’m not sure if I’ll order refills but I will be using up the box.

  10. Jenny
    Jenny June 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm | | Reply

    Using the right size short, very thin needle and injecting with the proper technique makes my shots painless. I do 3 a day and would never want to use something like this iport.

    I think this device just feeds on the initial fear of the newly diagnosed. It took me maybe 2 days to get over my fears of injection, then that was that. What a relief!

    This device looks MORE painful than a shot, and it keeps up the idea in the person’s mind that injecting is difficult.

  11. Kevin D.
    Kevin D. June 19, 2007 at 4:20 am | | Reply

    Jenny, it’s tons less painful. When I was on shots I would hit a bad spot 10% of the time. In 3 days that would be at least once that I would be left with a big red/blue/purple spot on my arm or leg. I also would hit muscle quite often in the arms and legs. With pumping, I only have the problem maybe once every 6 months where I hit a bad spot. That is ALOT less and ALOT less noticable.

    Scott…if tissue damage can occur then how is pumping any better? ALOT more tissue damage can occur with the diaport. Oh wait, you’re a former pumper? I know people that have been pumping for 10 years now and have NO signs of any tissue damage and are still using the same basal rates and other factors as they were 10 years ago with just minor fine tuning as jobs/activities change.

    I think the Iport is a great item. I don’t think it gives anyone a bad image of injections or feeds any fears. Heck, most doctors already do that with starting new patients on Mixed insulins which is totally stupid. I’d rather see people start mixing their own and have an iport than using a pre-mixed. If I went back to injections I for one would use something like the iport.

  12. maria
    maria June 23, 2007 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    I was invited to a focus group for this device, and pracitcally laughed my infusion set off my skin when I was presented with suggestions for names for the now baptized “iport” Sorry guys when they asked me I called OrificeDepot. If I am going to have orifices in my skin over tenkoff for kidney dialysis in otherwise uncontrolled diabetes I’ll take the diaport. This goes to the newly-diagnosed-needle -scared crowd who are probably unworthy of calling themselves a dignified diabetic.

  13. KD
    KD June 26, 2007 at 11:43 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy,

    I was in the clinical trial for the I-Port last year. I found inserting the cannula to be very painful and was more aware of that acute once-in-3-days pain than I ever was about the minor, frequent prick of injections. I also found insulin delivery to be less reliable and consistent.

    In summary I felt that the IPort had the disadvantages of infusion sets, but without the control benefits of pumping. I’ll stick with injections until starting a pump.

    KD

  14. ivan
    ivan June 27, 2007 at 5:23 am | | Reply

    Amy

    I-Port is not a new idea: Insuflon has been around for a long time and my child is using it with success. For a child Insuflon or I-Port is great: you do not have to poke him/her everytime he/she wants to eat a snack, and compared with a pump you have no tubing, and the site last longer. The downside: you still have to draw insulin yourself, you still need a Lantus shot. Omnipod probably has the better of both world, though much bigger, for a child at least.

  15. Fran
    Fran December 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm | | Reply

    Come April, I will have been taking daily injections for 40 years, including the last 16 years that I’ve been wearing a pump. I’m still NOT used to having to prick myself so many times a day. (I consider “finger sticks” the worst of all.) Clearly, I don’t need the i-port. But I see it as a godsend for type 2s who have to resort to insulin. And anything that makes a patient more compliant is a very good thing. (Scott, maybe, just like the rest of us type 1s, you are just too close to the subject?)

  16. Morgan
    Morgan December 30, 2008 at 9:00 am | | Reply

    My problem has always been the bleeding and seepage with shots. Frankly, having given injections for a long time, I really didn’t have problems with taking them. I hate the finger sticks more than the insulin shots (sigh). But with some of the insulin seeping out, even when I hold the needle for a good 15-20 seconds or longer, I worry that the dosage I’m getting isn’t as much as I need. And I lost count of the shirts I ruined with bleeding.

    Frankly, I like the iPort. It’s not hard to use, yes the introducer needle is longer than a regular injection, but still, it’s once ever three days, and the port survives showering and normal activities with no problem.

    Morgan

    PS. Fran, if you’re the same Fran from Parade magazine who asked about stickless blood sugar monitoring, check out this article:

    http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/glucosemonitor/index.htm

  17. Jim
    Jim July 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm | | Reply

    Just read all the comments posted on the I-port and thought I’d throw in mine. I’m 63 and I’ve been using it for several years. Now, I’m a big guy with a high tolerance for pain but I hated having to take 5 shots a day. That’s 5 chances a day to hit a ‘bad’ spot which may hurt, bleed, or otherwise cause a problem. One skin prick every 3 days is WAY better. I still may hit that ‘bad’ spot sometimes – but not nearly as often. And, I move from either side of my abdomen to my thighs so there’s not as much chance of discomfort. I don’t want to have to go on the pump so I hope Patton keeps making the I-port. It really helps me control this disease.

  18. Allison
    Allison April 24, 2013 at 7:38 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed at 13 with type 1 diabetes. I’m now 21 and have been using the I-Port for 5 years now. Before the I-Port, I was doing injections at least 4 times daily. I was never afraid of needles or noncompliant with my injections and I was never a fan of pumps and the bulky, stringy tubing that came with them. However, when I first heard of the I-Port, I instantly thought it was brilliant. Here was a device like a pump in that it saves you shots, but without the bulk. Like others have said, shots cause issues with seepage, blood stains on clothes, bruises, and occasional shots that hurt like no other. Also, looking ahead towards a lifetime of injections, the formation of scar tissue was a concern with egg like bumps already forming on the backs of my arms.
    It takes some getting used to, but it wasn’t long before the I-Port was second nature and I instantly saw the benefits of not having to inject 4 times a day. I will probably never go on a pump because the I-Port takes care of any reasons why I might have considered getting one.
    All of this being said, I think it is rather insulting that someone thinks that the use of an I-Port is reserved for those who are “needle scared” or those that don’t qualify as a “dignified diabetic.” It’s a device that has made my life easier. Did it make the difference between me giving myself shots or not? No. I was going to continue taking care of myself whether I had the I-Port or not. But if I’m given the opportunity to take less shots, I’m gonna take advantage of it. I’m not afraid of needles, but I don’t need to feel every injection to be considered dignified. In doing what I think is right for my life and taking good care of my health, I’m as dignified a diabetic as anyone else. It’s not for everyone, but don’t let one ignorant person’s opinion of what a dignified diabetic is color your decision. If you’re interested, you should definitely try it out.

    1. Abel Calvo
      Abel Calvo May 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm | | Reply

      My 7 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.I just found out about the I-port and I’m not sure why none of the doctors or nurses we’ve seen has ever brought it up.How painful is it to insert?

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