Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Infusion Set Recall
On February 21, 2011, Roche Insulin Delivery Systems, Inc., voluntarily issued a recall of Accu-Chek FlexLink Plus infusion sets distributed between November 1, 2010, and February 20, 2011, due to the possibility of the tube become kinked or bent. Were this to occur, it could result in the delivery of little or no insulin, leading to high blood glucose.

The recall does not affect Accu-Chek Ultraflex or other Accu-Chek infusion sets or insulin pumps. A list of affected lot numbers can be viewed on the Web site of the US Food and Drug Administration. People with Accu-Chek FlexLink Plus infusion sets involved in the recall are advised not to use the set and to contact their health-care provider for further instructions. To learn more, see the press release on the Web site of the Food and Drug Administration.

Nicotine’s Bad Effect on A1C
In other news, researchers at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society have announced the results of a study showing strong evidence that nicotine is the culprit behind the persistently high blood glucose levels — and the associated complications — seen in people with diabetes who smoke.

Scientists have long known that smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes complications, as well as that people with diabetes who smoke have higher A1C levels than those who don’t smoke. (A1C, also known as HbA1c, is an indicator of diabetes control over the previous 2–3 months.) However, it was not clear what component of cigarette smoke was the cause of these effects. Suspecting it might be the nicotine, the researchers used human blood samples and found that concentrations of nicotine similar to those found in smokers did indeed raise A1C levels.

According to researcher Xiao-Chuan Liu, PhD, “This is an important study and it is the first study to establish a strong link between nicotine and diabetes complications… Nicotine caused levels of HbA1c to rise by as much as 34 percent. No one knew this before. The higher the nicotine levels, the more HbA1c is produced… If you’re a smoker and have diabetes, you should be concerned and make every effort to quit smoking.”

The benefits of using nicotine patches and other nicotine-containing devices to permanently quit smoking may outweigh the risks of the temporary rise in A1C levels, Liu suggests, because these devices are typically used for only brief periods. However, he adds that the study may raise some concerns over the long-term use of these products.

To learn more, read the article “Nicotine Can Raise A1C by 34%.” And for help with quitting smoking, visit Smokefree.gov.

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