I have a couple of friends who are in various stages of getting themselves insulin pumps (do I really go on about it that much??). Having had similar conversations with each of them about what’s currently on the market in the UK, I thought a quick overview of some interesting recent developments in the UK pump market might be useful.
Bear in mind I’ve only used a Medtronic Paradigm pump, my thoughts below are based on reading reviews and publicity material, playing with samples at conferences and talking to people. This isn’t a scientific, double blind randomised control trial, it’s just my musings.
The Omnipod is a step nearer to the UK
Our friends over the pond have had the tubeless Omnipod for a couple of years now. The overall impression from people who use it seems to be very positive (save for a few reliability problems early on that seem to have now died down).
Personally I like the idea but have reservations on two fronts – firstly the pod is pretty large to have attached to you at all times. On a standard pump when you disconnect to shower or whatever you’re left with an infusion set roughly the size of a 10p. As you don’t remove the Omnipod pod for the entire 3 days until you replace it with the next pod you’re permanently attached to something roughly the size of half a small apple. My other concern is the tubelessness. My pump is attached by a piece of string which does have the unexpected benefit of my not being able to forget it or lose it easily. I don’t have to remember to pick it up before I run out the door as it’s attached to me. As the Omnipod is tubeless, that means you have to remember to carry the remote to do any dosing. Not an insurmountable problem I’m sure, just something that concerns me.
Insulet Corp recently gained a CE mark for the Omnipod, meaning that they can now sell it throughout the European Union. News reports say “the product will be available to a limited extent in selected markets in 2009 with broader availability in 2010“. Always good to see more choice on the market. One interesting issue for Omnipod entering the UK market may be their website – their .co.uk address is currently owned by a company that “specializes in mid-20th century designer furniture and distinctive accessories”!
The Paradigm Veo is already here!
Having had to wait impatiently for the Omnipod to hit the UK shores (and it’s still not here yet), it was a nice surprise to see that we actually got the Medtronic Paradigm Veo in the UK before our American cousins.
The Veo is an upgrade to the existing Medtronic Paradigm Real Time – it has some tweaks to the CGMS but it’s big new feature is that if you fail to respond to the CGMS hypo alarms it will suspend insulin delivery for 2 hours to help reduce the risk of severe hypoglycaemia. Thankfully severe overnight hypos haven’t been an issue for me since I was a teenager struggling with ye olde insulins of Ultratard and Actrapid, but if this had been available back then it would have been life changing for me. For more detailed info try the INPUT blog.
New combined approach from Accu-Chek
Pumps are very personal things, what suits you depends on what kind of life you lead, what you like, what you don’t like etc. What’s really exciting at the moment is the diversity in the types of pumps and features that are available, we’re really starting to see a market where each supplier has a defining feature whether that’s the lack of a tube, integrated CGMS, great remote functionality or the ability to give really small doses of insulin like the Animas 2020 . The next step has to be to get all the good stuff into one pump. For what it’s worth my wish list includes:
- CGMS. This is my “must have” pump feature. I’m not interested in having it as a separate device, that’s just too much stuff to carry. It has to be integrated.
- A remote with full functionality would be handy – so I can hide my pump in my bra when I’m wearing a nice dress and not have to fish it out at the table to change my basal rates.
- If I’m carrying a remote, it’d be nice for it to have built in glucose meter so that’s one less thing to carry.
- I’m surprisingly ambivalent about tubing. If I could get over the fear that I’m going to find myself on a train to London having left the only way of controlling my pump on my bedside table – and they could make the pod smaller – I’d certainly think about going tubeless. It’s not a big deal for me though; the tubing on my pump isn’t something that really bothers me.
Here endeth my thoughts for the day. Comments?