OmniPod Versus Animas: Why I Chose to Switch and What You Need to Know
About 15 years ago I became a fan of the insulin pump. At first, I was unsure of how wearing a medical device with tubing 24/7 was going to work, but over time I got used to it.
Looking back, I have to admit I thought of some pretty clever ways to accommodate my wardrobe and my life to make the contraption discreet. I would tuck my Medtronic pump in Spanx underneath a dress; constructing a makeshift ankle band to hide tubing under long skirts or wide trousers; affix a pocket on the back of an infinity scarf, etc. When their first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) came out, I tried that too. But I found it painful, inaccurate and very expensive.
At a speaking event a couple of years later, I met a woman with type 1 who filled me in about the Dexcom CGM. It was love at first sight! It wasn’t painful, gave me accurate readings and was very easy to insert. The ease-of-use experience led me to switch to the Animas Vibe because it was integrated with their CGM. I loved that about it!
Unfortunately, I was still always looking for places to tuck my pump. Even worse, there were countless times my tubing got caught on a ledge, door handle or banister! To be honest, there were also times (an embarrassing number of them) that after getting out of the shower I would put the pump in my bathrobe, forget and then take off my robe and throw it on my bed—OUCH!!!.
This summer I was attending the American Association of Diabetes Educators conference and I happened to stop by the OmniPod booth. I didn’t think I had the option of changing pumps at this point because I was still under warranty but I decided to inquire anyway. Good thing I did—especially now in the wake of the news that Johnson and Johnson is shutting down Animas. They told me about a program that they had going on through the rest of this year so I joined on the spot.
The details of their "Welcome to Insulet" program for Animas users include:
- No upfront cost
- Free Personalized Diabetes Manager (PDM)
- 10 free pods
What did I have to lose? If I didn’t like it, then I could just send it back. I've been a "podder" now for two months and here is my honest pro and con list:
- The Omnipod adhesive isn't as good. I have to use SkinTac wipes every time I insert a new pod.
- Since I roll around at night when I'm sleeping, the pod can be uncomfortable if I wind up lying on the side where I'm wearing the pod (side of the leg, arm, lower back).
- The pod expires in 72 hours (but you do get an additional 8 hours beyond that). The tough part is the waste. If I try to estimate how much insulin I may need in those days (max. 200 units can be put in) and I don't use all of it, then it's wasted. When the pod expires, you have to take it off. (It will continually beep until it’s removed.)
- Dexcom is not integrated with the Personalized Diabetes Manager (PDM). But now that the Dexcom 5G integrates with your phone and Apple watch, it's better and I'm good with seeing my numbers that way.
- Automatic insertion!!! I always kind of chuckle when people tell me that I must just be “used” to having needles go into my skin. WRONG! I’ve always been needle phobic (ask my mother!). So one of the advantages for me is the insertion is easier. When you’re putting on a new pod, you simply click the button and it automatically inserts. It takes less time to change sets because there's no waiting (the dreaded 5 minutes of lag time before you can push the insertion set into your skin). That's a huge plus.
- No tubing! I never knew how much I would love this part. No more tubing getting caught on things as I zip about my day and accidentally pull out infusion sets.
- Personalized Diabetes Manager (PDM)—so instead of trying to clip on a pump or find a spot to tuck it underneath my clothes, I now have the ability to lay it on my kitchen counter when I’m home. (You don’t need to have it close to you to get your basal rate.) The other great thing about it is that most people just think it’s a cell phone. So when I take it out of my purse at a lunch meeting to dose for the meal, no one notices. Before, I would have to try to wiggle it out discreetly from my bra or SPANX and then slip it back! And trust me, I’ve had to do at awkward times like during a city council meeting! If you have a hectic schedule the PDM is very convenient.
- I also have a new-found love for “accessorizing” my pod (see photo above). I ordered a bunch of Pump Peelz and have received many compliments about them!
Let me know what you love about your pump, or if you have any other questions for me about the pumps and CGM’s that I’ve worn.
One final note if you are an Animas user you can access more information about next steps by visiting the company's website or calling the following toll-free numbers:
- In the US: (855) 322-9568
- In Canada: (800) 284-4416
One more thing, in spite of what the press materials may lead you to believe you do NOT have to select the Medtronic pump. Medtronic is partnering with Animas but there are other insulin pumps on the market including the Insulet Omnipod and the Tandem t-slim insulin pump. My advice is to take the time to get unbiased information from fellow type 1s and your diabetes management team before you decide.