38 Responses

  1. Jenni
    Jenni July 14, 2008 at 7:01 am | | Reply

    Me! Me! I had to switch from my MiniMed because of allergic reactions to their adhesive. Now I use the Cozmo pump with the Inset infusion sets, and it’s working for now…hopefully it will continue to work! I also get allergic reactions if they use a bandaid after drawing my blood, so I have to ask for paper tape.

    As far as your problems with the Navigator, some companies offer a base adhesive patch that you can use with an infusion site…I wonder if that would work any better for you? Good luck!! I hope you figure something out!

  2. Deb McCaffrey
    Deb McCaffrey July 14, 2008 at 7:49 am | | Reply

    I am not sensitive to the glue, but my daughter is allergic to medical adhesive. Last fall when she had stitches on her chin she need to keep it covered and protected for a few days. It then became a battle the rash or keeping the wound clean. We have found that her legs can take the bandaide sticky- but for most small cuts we have to use the liquid bandage stuff.

  3. Beth
    Beth July 14, 2008 at 8:12 am | | Reply

    Welcome to the adhesive rodeo! There are lots of options out there. My kid’s skin is highly reactive, so we have tried many of them. We have had better luck with Smith and Nephew’s Flexifix (comes in a long roll). And Skin-Tac (which is brushed on) might provide a level of protection as well.

    Removal seems to make a difference as well; a lot of the reaction doesn’t seem to occur until after the tape is off, so we have been working on gently removing tape without damaging skin (gently is not a specialty of 10-year-old boys).

    Our dermatologist (who is particularly sympathetic because she has a chronic illness herself) told us to pay particular attention to his sites and make sure they stay well moisturized between uses to facilitate healing, and that seems to be working as well. Just don’t use vitamin E oil, which is often a wheat derivative.

    Good luck!

  4. Sara
    Sara July 14, 2008 at 8:37 am | | Reply

    The only thing I appear to be allergic to at this point is the paper tape used after blood draws – they say it is the one tape that you ‘can’t’ be allergic to but I like to defy expectations.

  5. Lauren
    Lauren July 14, 2008 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed just over a year ago and went on the pump almost immediately. Everything was doing really well and then suddenly the exact same thing happened to me. Now I lay down the IV3000 first and then insert the infusion set right through it. It’s like a breathable second skin and it completely took care of the problem.

  6. tmana
    tmana July 14, 2008 at 8:48 am | | Reply

    I’ve heard of both latex allergies and adhesive allergies; they are quite common. Also, once your body decides something is “foreign” and it creates an “allergic” response, the more you expose it to the allergen, the worse the reaction becomes. (I have found this happens to me a lot with oral medications, to the point where I become very defensive any time a doctor wants to write me a prescription for anything — the unwelcome side effects pile up long before a therapeutic effect is reached.)

    You may need to experiment to find a different sort of adhesive, an intermediate layer between the adhesive and your body, or some other method of making this work for you. I would suggest that, given your current relationships with the various equipment manufacturers, you see if there are some options they can suggest (they may be working on something already)… it’s highly unlikely that you are the only patient experiencing these issues.

  7. tmana
    tmana July 14, 2008 at 8:55 am | | Reply

    Adhesive allergies are quite common. Additionally, many allergies get worse as you are more frequently exposed to the allergen (this is why my sister and I both have significant issues any time a doctor tries to prescribe us medication — we experience side effects long before therapeutic effects are achieved). There may be an additional accelerant factor for you, given that you are already dealing with multiple autoimmune issues.

    OTOH, I will suggest that some allergic reactions are dependent upon body chemistry and composition: I find I have worse reactions to insect bites when I am heavier and my sugars are less in control than when I am lighter in weight and my sugars are in tighter control.

    For the nonce, I would suggest inquiring of the manufacturers whether they have alternative adhesives available, or alternate methods to suggest — if not, you may need to consider adding a thin intermediate barrier layer with a more suitable adhesive next to your skin.

  8. June S
    June S July 14, 2008 at 8:55 am | | Reply


    I’m SO sorry! I know that IV 3000′s are NOT supposed to be used on the skin before you insert a MiniMed sensor. Just pray that your OmniPod sites will remain OK. (Gee, isn’t there an ALLERGY SHOT for these problems!!!!!)

    June S

  9. MelissaBL
    MelissaBL July 14, 2008 at 9:09 am | | Reply

    I believe that it could certainly be an immune system related problem. A few years before my diabetes hit, when I was about 6, my body seemed to be allergic to itself. They ran so many tests. I was at the allergist or the ER every other week. My throat would swell shut and I’d be unable to breathe. They never pinpointed the cause. After about a year and a half, it just seemed to stop happening. I stopped the steroids and histamine blockers and went back to being a normal kid…until the T1 dx about three years later. I’ve never had it confirmed, but it’s certainly possible that my immune system was lashing out against me pre-dx in the form of allergic reactions to – what? anything? everything? nothing? I think it’d be an interesting study to see how many T1s deal with late-onset allergies or unexplainable phenomena in the context of autoimmune illness. A few years ago, I met a T1 who was allergic to human analog insulins and had to stick to pig insulin, which is harder to come by these days. I agree with your child that it’s a strange coincidence, but like you allude to, I wouldn’t be surprised to find it inherently connected. Sorry for your woes, Amy…and your itches. :(

  10. anne
    anne July 14, 2008 at 10:43 am | | Reply

    In 15 years of using adhesives for pumps, I never had an allergy problem until I used the dexcom shower patch. Since I no longer need those with the Dex7 I haven’t had a problem again. I get some minor skin irritation which I believe is caused from the skin trauma upon removing the adhesive. I wonder if the Navigator uses the same adhesive as the Dex shower patches. I hope that it is just an issue with a particular type of adhesive and that it doesn’t become a bigger problem for you.

  11. Melissa
    Melissa July 14, 2008 at 11:45 am | | Reply

    Yep, I’ve got the allergy thing going on with both the IV 3000 preps and the Minimed adhesive. Fortunately, mine isn’t too bad and I’ve had it a couple years now so I just deal with it, although my tummy looks pretty bad. Every time I do an insertion right after I have major itching at the site and have to hold myself back from scracthing the infusion set right out, however, it only lasts maybe 30 seconds and then I’m fine except for the horrible red bumps after removal. I use Eucerin cream on those and that seems to help.

  12. Sarah
    Sarah July 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm | | Reply

    I think everyone gets rashes from SOMETHING when they’re using pumps or CGMs. Everyone I’ve talked to has some sort of itchy rashiness at some point. I’m reexamining Cleos at the moment, in conjunction with IV3000 to get it to stick, and I’d forgotten how uncomfortable the IV3000s are especially with the Cleo cannulas (can’t scratch through the IV3000, darnit). I’m going back to my Insets with SkinPrep, thankyouverymuch, and if anyone wants my Cleos, just send me an email (9mm w/23″ tubing). SkinTac gave me a rash too.
    As far as other allergies go, I’m wondering if I have the sniffly-nose kind. Apparently I’ve been breathing funny in my sleep and my husband kindly offered me some of his loratadi*ne. I guess it’s working but I’m still kind of surprised that these would come out of the blue like this (but my mom and brother have them, so who knows). Allergies can emerge over time, so maybe.

  13. KT
    KT July 14, 2008 at 4:47 pm | | Reply

    Bummer. I experienced my first adhesive reaction after my first c-section. My reaction to the adhesive from the surgical drape was worse than my c-section incision. Since then, it has gotten worse, but I try my best to avoid adhesive. I have success when I have moles removed, etc., but using Tegaderm (3M product)
    is my saving grace.
    I use it with a non-stick pad, if I need wound coverage.
    Just talking with the OmniPod folks at the last ADA meeting, they suggested using the Tegaderm as a barrier underneath their adhesive…I am not yet on a pump, but the adhesive issue has been keeping me from investigating further (until now)…will see!

  14. Scott
    Scott July 14, 2008 at 5:12 pm | | Reply

    Amy, I just started using the Navigator myself, and had the same allergic reaction to the sensor adhesive. I ordered some SkinTac, and put it directly on the adhesive of the sensor prior to applying, to form a “barrier” between the Navigator adhesive and my skin. Seems so far to be working wonders.


  15. Renee
    Renee July 14, 2008 at 6:55 pm | | Reply

    I have a suggestion. Just think some of you may want to try a pomade ointment I found in researching different skin conditions. THis one really seems to be the cure-all and I can attest that it really does do wonders. Its call tepezcohuite. I have been on insulin pump therapy for almost 14 years.

    Thanks for having such a great resource for diabetics.


  16. Mike Black
    Mike Black July 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm | | Reply

    I have been a type 1 for eight years. I too received the good luck of developing livabetes in my early thirties, (Our house refers to Live and not Die-abetes). Last September I went on the Omni Pod and loved every bit of it. I went from a 6.8 A1C to a 5.4 A1C in just three months. My control had never been better. The only downfall was the reaction my skin was having to the adhesive. Soon after the Pod I noticed the same reaction to all medical adhesives. My skin also was very sensitive to the pump after about 30 hours. I ended up changing the pod every 24-36 hours. On the rare occasion my skin didn’t act up I was able to go 72 hours. I had to use a steroid cream to help the rash subside. This also affected my BG’s. It became so frustrating that I laid the Pod to rest for the summer and went back onto shots. I have my first A1C next week to show the results of my efforts on the shots. If my A1C has climbed dramatically, then I will go back on the pump for a few months. My Endo and I view the pump as just another useful tool to help keep my BG’s in check. Taking a break every once in a while is fine for me…Livabetes has also been blamed for the chronic prostatitis that I suffer from. But, that is another novel of complaints. Good Luck
    Mike, Washington DC

  17. LaurenK
    LaurenK July 14, 2008 at 9:20 pm | | Reply

    Yet another reason I’ll stick to injecting and sticking my finger.

  18. Ab
    Ab July 15, 2008 at 8:06 pm | | Reply

    Hi Amy,
    I have been having a similar thing with minimed quicksets for almost 9 months now. I have tried a bunch of things and have heard a bunch of reasons about what might be causing it:

    1. You are wearing each set for too long( i.e., 3 days). Cut it to 2 days.
    2. Your skin is dry. Use a moisturizer (no idea which one).
    3. Try a bunch of things, Smith Nephew, IV Prep, Bard Protective Barrier Film (they maybe helped but did not make the problem go away).
    4. Some kind of ointment for local reactions 0.05% strength. Seems to have worked the best: I apply it after removing the set from a site. BUT, I don’t think it was meant to be used regularly.

    My own thoughts:

    1. Maybe it is early sign of Gastroparesis?
    2. Maybe lactose intolerance?
    3. A standard MD (e.g., mine) just doesn’t get it. I doubt if they have any tech to discover the source of allergy through some tests at our univ’s clinic. Also since it comes and goes, I doubt if they can do much w/o asking me to stay in clinic for 24 hrs or more.
    4. Its so widespread, and still the best a company can tell you (Medtronic, probably others too): Talk to your doctor, change the infusion set more often, a 3 page pamphlet on site rotation, adhesives etc etc.

  19. Emily Bertman
    Emily Bertman July 18, 2008 at 9:36 am | | Reply

    After about 6 months of wearing the Omnipod I started getting allergic reaction at the adhesive site. It’s so itchy I scratch it and my skin turns into sandpaper within minutes. It sucks. My endo suggested I try this spray called Cromolyn, (Nasal Chrome, Benamist). I have yet to try but every time I change my site I think about getting it cause it’s totally worth a shot (hehe).

  20. Nedsatomic
    Nedsatomic July 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm | | Reply

    My 9 year old daughter developed a severe reaction to medical adhesives in Jan. 2008. She had to give up her insulin pump and CGMS. She has zero hypo awareness so the forfeiture of the CGMS is pretty tough. She’s tried just about every infusion set on the market. She just finished a trial with the Omnipod and she’s quite allergic to that adhesive as well. Bandaids never used to bother her until Jan. 2008. The doctor also switched her insulin from Humalog to Novolog around the same time her skin went all wonky.

  21. Diamond
    Diamond August 10, 2008 at 10:05 am | | Reply

    I have had T1 Diabetes since I was about 14 months of age, currently 51 years old. I started using the Animas pump in March of 2004. My pre pump A1c’s were consistenly in the 4.9 – 5.2 range…no complications to date – tight control for a lifetime has paid off, just easier be tight controlled now with pump.

    From late 2005 until now I have had increasing allergic symptoms (Hives) from the surgical tape that I use for a “safety loop” – I am yet to experience any allergic reaction to the actual infusion set adhesive. The itch, welting reaction to the surgical tape is so bad now that it leaves wounds for a week or so after removal. I have recently stopped using the safety loop, which I understand that a lot of pump users do not use anyway. I look forward to trying some of the products mentioned in the replies to this issue. Thanks!

  22. Michelle
    Michelle November 21, 2008 at 11:18 am | | Reply

    Wow, I am so glad I googled adhesive allergies. I have been on the pump for about 3 years now. I am now having severe reactions to the adhesive. I paid an allergist a $50.00 copay to tell me it’s an allergic reaction…. duh? Nothing to do, but use a steriod to treat the area. What I find totally crazy, is that the pump companies have not developed an hypoallergenic adhesive. I have dark marks all over my abdomen. Each time I change my site, (every two days), within hours, I’m itching. The marks are hideous. My doctor said they look like I’ve been burned w/ a cigarette.

  23. Eliza
    Eliza June 21, 2009 at 10:48 pm | | Reply

    I’ve been using the minimed pump for about five years, and I’ve used both iv3000 and tegaderm adhesives successfully. Two months ago I got the minimed continuous glucose monitoring system. I’ve been covering it up with iv3000. It was fine until last injection site – after around a week, it itched so badly I had to take it off. The area under where the sensor had been was red with a rash, but the are under the tape was fine. This injection, I tried using tegaderm instead – after three days, it was unbearable. Now the entire area under the tape was red and itchy. The same thing happened today, when I used iv3000 today. I just don’t understand why I’m reacting at the sensor site but not the pump injection site… any ideas?

  24. Helen
    Helen July 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm | | Reply

    Same with me, no problems with the actual pump or sensor site, but I started developing very painful and scarring blisters around the adhesive. I have never had any problems before. Still no problems with the pump, just the continuous glucose monitor. I am beginning to wonder if my skin is reacting to the metal in the sensor. I have always had to wear real gold or silver because any other metal would itch my hands. The CGM has what appears to be copper. I am wondering if the copper is making my skin sensitive and reactive to the adhesive. Just a thought. Nothing seems to work. I have lived 17 years with “out of control” diabetes. Rarely having an A1C under 9. The CGM brought my BS’s right under very tight control. I am sure my next A1C will be in the 7′s, and likely lower if I could have kept the CGM in. Help…..I need the CGM…

  25. KAT
    KAT March 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm | | Reply

    Hello. I have had diabetes for 22 years and I was diagnosed at the age of 13. I have always been on shots until recently. I have been on the OmniPod insulin pump for 2 months. I was fine for the first month and now I am allergic to the adhesive. I went through hell pricking my finger to get the dosage perfect for this pump. Now this! I get red, swollen, and itchy. I have been using Cortizone cream to relieve the itch. It also gets rid of the rash slowly and it leaves a mark/scare. I have been using Eucerine cream for itchy dry skin and it has oatmeal in it. This cream has been working for the scares on my stomach. They have faded a lot. I might have to go back to shots (Doc says you can use steroid creams for ever) but I don’t want to give up yet. I am going to try some of the suggestions on this website first and maybe more before I come off them. It is sad that I have perfect blood sugars now and by going back on shots they will be like a rollar coaster again. Up and down. I have tried Hollister Skin Gel Barrier wipes and Skin Tac. Both of them do not work. Skin Tac was so bad it made it worse! The Hollister Skin Gel seems to work a tat bit but not really. Also I was told not to use the Adhesive removers because they have acitone in them like nail poilish remover. I stopped that as well. I use baby oil to remove my Pods every 2 days. If any one else recommends any adhesive barriers I can try let me know?


  26. Erika
    Erika March 10, 2010 at 9:15 am | | Reply

    I too have had problems with itching, redness, and the Omnipod. The Dexcom doesn’t itch when I use it. It has gotten so bad that I have switched to MDI this week because I couldn’t take the itching anymore. I am trying to get a Minimed pump because I never had this problem when I was on a tubed pump with a regular infusion set. But my insurance won’t pay for another pump right now because my Omnipod is not out of warranty yet.

    I think the Omnipod is the worst thing I ever did for my diabetes…

  27. Al
    Al April 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm | | Reply

    Wow! I hit the same issue with my Minimed 722 pump… my allergist is doing a patch test next week to see what is causing it. KAT it may not be the omni pod system… it is probably just the adhesives.

  28. Lorraine
    Lorraine February 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm | | Reply

    Amy – Caleb is having this issue with DexCom (never, ever with OmniPod *knock wood*). I think I figured something out. So many times I contemplated bringing him to a dermatologist. I’m not so encouraged to do so after reading this! I hope your issues have not continued. I realize it’s been a while.

  29. Patrick
    Patrick June 26, 2012 at 8:48 am | | Reply

    I’m in misery with the same condition. I have been on a Medtronic pump for about 10 years. I changed infusion sets and some work better than others but I’m allergic to the adhesive on all of them. I use the CGM transmitter and I’m not so allergic to the adhesive on that but I use a simple band-aid to keep it on well and that drives me nuts! I know it’s the adhesive but what can I do. I thought about switching to a new pump hoping to find one that uses a better adhesive but many of you have the same problem. Extremely frustrated but at least we’re all still alive.

  30. Lauren
    Lauren July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    I get allergic reactions using the sensors for the Continuous Glucose Monitoring by Medtronics, but I think it may have been from the copper strip that you insert under your skin. I got that same sort of rash described by the author of the blog, but also had pain associated with where the copper strip was which continued days after removing it. If anybody knows of a brand of sensors or any other medical supplier who has the equivalent to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring from Medtronics that doesn’t use copper strips, let me know!

  31. Kelly
    Kelly December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm | | Reply

    I switched from an Animas pump to an Omnipod about 4 years ago and LOVED it. However, after about 8 months on the Omnipod, the skin under the adhesive would start sweating/breaking out into a rash within a day or two and progressively got worse, I even spent a few months in full blown hives, so I hear ya! Me and my endo tried everything under the sun – changing sites every day, every skin prep ever made, an extra layer (or even two) between me and my site. I was told that the Omnipod has a stronger adhesive due to the fact that it has to support the weight of the pod while regular infusion sets have less weight to bear. Regardless, as soon as I went off pump and back to shots (boo), the allergic reactions cleared up. I still get a small rash and some itching under my Dexcom and it gets worse the more I work out, but at least that’s only after 5 or so days and has not gotten progressively worse.

    I’d be interested to see if anyone having major allergic reaction issues with the adhesive has found a better infusion site/adhesive seeing as I’d love to go back on the pump (almost have to when me and my fiance get a few years of marriage behind us and start discussing kids), but am in fear of spending gosh knows how much on a new pump that a year later I won’t be able to wear due to hives. Anyone?

  32. WendyP
    WendyP April 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm | | Reply

    My 9 yo son Josh has been dealing with all of this for a couple of years now. It started with the Animas insets. He was having hih numbers after 2 days and then one day. We switched to Contact-detach sites thinking the steel needles would help. They did, but he immediately began having a terrible problem with itchiness at the sites, around the sites, and then under any coverings we put on to keep the sites secure. We have tried just about everything mentioned above and more. We finally had relief for awhile when we switched to Orbit infusions sets. We were using the Miscros (which of course they have now stopped production on due to FDA issues). The adhesive in them is different. It is body heat activated. He did not react to it at all for a good 6 mos. Recently he has started to get very hivey when they are removed and has big bumps and bruising under his sites. Endo says its allergic reaction. So I guess we need to move on to something new again. I am starting to wonder if maybe that is an answer – just not staying with one thins for too ling. She wanted us to go to an allergist, but then called us back after talking to him and said that he said here was really nothing he could do for adhesive allergies. He suggested trying a daily allergy med like Zyrtec.
    I am wondering if there is something out there, like that is used in another field, that could help us. Some kind of breathable barrier wrap or pad or sleeve. Like, for instance, maybe someting that they use for burn victims. I don’t know anyone who would know to ask. Something that you could put down on the skin that did no have any adhesive on it. And then you could put the site through that and then cover it somehow. Maybe some kind of mesh.
    This is a huge, life effecting problem when its causing people to have to stop using pumps and CGMs. There are a lot of people having a problem wih it. Maybe we just need to get more vocal about it. I really don’t want my son to have to stop pumping, but it is getting harder and harder. His stomach looks like a minefield!

  33. Roberta Marquis
    Roberta Marquis April 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm | | Reply

    I am allergic to alot of different things 2 of them being benerydral and th eadheavise from the omi pod I have tried liquid bandage tegaderm gause surgical tape to no avial My pharmist suggestions were to try a tape that
    didn’t contain latex as I am highly allergic to that myself
    i am going to see about another pump as I hate taking shots 5 times a day aany one know of another company that does pods other than omi

  34. Ariana Doccola
    Ariana Doccola August 15, 2013 at 4:57 am | | Reply

    GAHH!!! I have been experiencing this nightmare as well! It’s a curious trick of nature to do this to people who already stick themselves 5 times or more a day and need tri-monthly checkups and bloodwork and worries and blah blah BLAH! My continuous glucose monitor leaves a rash in its place that won’t clear up for days, sometimes even a week after I take it off. I tried the pump, only to have huge swelling welts where the sticky portion of the infusion set touched my skin. What to do, what to do. Even curious-er thing: my doctor/Medtronic rep don’t seem the least bit worried about this. I guess they wanted me to bear the weight of it solo. Seriously, any advice?

  35. Ariana Doccola
    Ariana Doccola August 15, 2013 at 5:00 am | | Reply

    PS: I love the CGM. So this is most disappointing.

  36. Patricia Pienta
    Patricia Pienta February 11, 2014 at 8:50 am | | Reply

    I just started having pretty much the same problems as everyone else. I removed the infusion set and underneath were red spots that itched and have spread from my stomach to my legs. Last night I remove the infusion set from another site because it started feeling bad and there’s a blister at that site. I’ve been using the Minimed for just over a year and for the past few years I’ve had a problem with adhesives, so I knew what was going on immediately. What I don’t know is what to do now. I’ve gone back to needles but I’m hoping that’s just temporary. Has anyone found any resolution to these problems?

  37. Kathryn Ramer
    Kathryn Ramer March 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm | | Reply

    Same problem here. Seem to be more allergic to more things the longer I am on insulin–may be due to all the preservatives in it? At any rate, we all should be reporting this on the FDA Medwatch site for adverse reactions. Otherwise, this gets no attention from those who can change the adhesive formulas! Web link is below

  38. Barb
    Barb August 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm | | Reply

    I have recently found that using a moisturizer with Borage oil in it brings me the fastest relief I’ve had from the freaky red spot left by my Dexcom. I can actually get a spot to heal by the time I switch back to that side, which wasn’t happening before. I has also been suggested that taking some borage oil might help reduce or eliminate the inflammation caused by the adhesive reaction.

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