Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Tools of the Trade 2012

by Alwa Cooper

This year was a busy one for the diabetes market; many more new tools and medicines won FDA approval in 2012 than in recent years. Several drugs combining previously approved diabetes medicines hit the market, as did some new options to treat conditions, such as obesity and macular edema, that often go along with diabetes. On the tools side, a number of new blood glucose meters and insulin pumps debuted, with an emphasis on sleek design and ease of use.

Insulin pumps
Accu-Chek Combo

Product: ACCU-CHEK Combo System

Manufacturer: Roche Diabetes Care
(800) 858-8072

What it does: The ACCU-CHEK Combo system includes the ACCU-CHEK Spirit Combo insulin pump and the ACCU-CHEK Aviva Combo meter; Bluetooth technology links the two. The ACCU-CHEK Aviva Combo meter has a color screen that can display the pump’s current screen, if desired. When the user checks his blood glucose level, the meter’s Bolus Advice function helps calculate a bolus to correct it (if necessary). The meter can also display full-color graphs of blood glucose data and calculate averages from time periods of 1 to 90 days with a memory of 1,000 results. It requires a 0.6-microliter sample, and returns results in 5 seconds. The ACCU-CHEK Aviva Combo meter can also set a temporary basal rate function to allow for quick changes in basal rate. The system offers customizable reminders and warnings, including high/low blood glucose results and reminders to check before and after meals.

The corresponding pump can deliver insulin in increments of as small as 0.01 units, with basal rates as low as 0.05 units per hour. (The cartridge itself holds up to 315 units.)

Availability: The ACCU-CHEK Combo system is available from durable medical equipment providers, or you can order it from Roche directly by calling (866) 382-2355.


Product: t:slim

Manufacturer: Tandem Diabetes Care
(877) 801-6901

What it does: The t:slim is designed to be both easy to use and attractive; it has a backlit color touch screen, is roughly the size of a credit card, and mimics the look of a smartphone. It holds a 300-unit reservoir, and can deliver insulin in increments as fine as 0.001 units per hour. The t:slim can store up to 90 days of data, and programmable alarms can prompt the user to check his blood glucose level, bolus, or change infusion sets. The t:slim also has a micro-USB port for battery charging and data transfer to t:connect, Tandem’s Mac- and PC-compatible diabetes management software.

Availability: For information on how to get the t:slim insulin pump, visit www.tandemdiabetes.com/Products/t-slim/Get-Started.

Insulin delivery device

Product: V-Go

Manufacturer: Valeritas, Inc.
(855) 384-8848

What it does: The V-Go insulin delivery device is designed to deliver insulin over a 24-hour period and then be discarded; the V-Go 20, 30, and 40 deliver 20 (0.83 units/hour), 30 (1.25 units/hour), and 40 (1.67 units/hour) units of insulin in the course of a day, respectively. Each V-Go also has the capacity to deliver on-demand boluses in 2-unit increments. The V-Go should be used with a fast-acting insulin; Valeritas has successfully tested it with Humalog and NovoLog. The V-Go is only intended for use by adults.

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