New Diabetes Products for 2017: Insulin Delivery Devices

For the last year, Diabetes Self-Management has been following all the new innovations and products aimed at helping to improve the lives of those living with diabetes. From the latest glucometers and monitoring systems to insulin pumps, pens, and treatments, several major advancements made their impact on the diabetes community in 2016.

When selecting some of the new products, we first talked to Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Scheiner, known as the MacGyver of diabetes products, has lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years. He tries out new products before recommending them to patients. “It’s important to see new products from the user’s point of view, not just from the [health-care practitioner’s] side of things,” said Scheiner.

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In 2016, the pace of innovation continued to race ahead with unbelievable technology right out of a Star Trek episode. The growing use of smartphone technology and mobile applications has led to better access to blood glucose readings, general health information, and much more. Read on to learn about the newest products. We guarantee you there’s something here for everyone, whether you live with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

In this installment, we look at insulin delivery devices that have recently hit the market.

Insulin pumps, pens, and patches

Joining its family of insulin pumps, Tandem Diabetes Care introduced the t:slim X2 Insulin Pump — similar to the t:slim — late last year. The new pump features an advanced two-way Bluetooth radio and uses technology to update software remotely, much like a mobile phone. The pump is compatible with the Tandem Device Updater, a new tool that allows users to update the software from a personal computer.

The pump also incorporates familiar technology such as an integrated micro-USB port for convenient charging and fast data transfer speeds. The t:slim X2 Pump, which is about 38% smaller than other pumps, will replace Tandem’s first-generation t:slim pump.

The FDA cleared a reusable, wireless-enabled insulin pen and associated smartphone app for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. The device, called InPen, was approved for use with two rapid-acting insulins: Humalog (generic name insulin lispro), made by Lilly, and NovoLog (insulin aspart), made by Novo Nordisk.

The device can calculate insulin doses automatically and send data to the paired app via Bluetooth. Then a bolus calculator and automatic insulin on board allows users to receive these benefits from insulin pumping — without having to wear an insulin pump. This information can also be sent to health-care providers and caregivers. The InPen is reusable and lasts for one year. Cartridges need to be replaced every week to month, depending on how much insulin is used.

“We believe that a major clinical improvement can be had from helping patients to understand how much insulin to take, which is what the dose calculator does,” said Sean Saint, Companion Medical’s chief executive officer.

The new OneTouch Via is a wearable, on-demand insulin delivery system. The injection-free patch allows people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to discreetly deliver rapid-acting, or bolus, insulin at mealtimes by simply pressing two buttons on the device, accessible even through clothing. The thin, water-resistant patch can be worn continuously for up to three days, providing injection-free delivery of insulin. The product will be available in the first half of 2017.

One study followed 44 patients for 60 days who used the OneTouch Via instead of their bolus injection device. By week eight, more than half acknowledged dosing more often than they would with a pen or syringe. Furthermore, 98% of patients said the patch allowed them to dose discreetly in public, with 88% noting they worried less about forgetting insulin, thus creating a less stressful disease management experience.

“People with diabetes can often feel embarrassment or discomfort when they need to inject insulin at mealtimes or when snacking. In a social situation, they may choose to miss a dose so they don’t have to take themselves out of the moment, but avoiding needed insulin doses may lead to serious health complications over time,” said Dr. Brian Levy, chief medical officer of Lifescan, a division of Johnson & Johnson. “Because patients in the study were empowered to dose discreetly with the OneTouch Via, they felt encouraged to dose more often — and ultimately, they reported missing fewer doses and better adherence to their treatment regimen.”