Alarm While Priming - Am I doing something wrong?

My last box of pods seemed to have a failure with every other pod. I would insert the insulin, hear the two beeps, and then get an obnoxious alarm about halfway through priming. I assume there was something wrong with this particular lot of pods and am absolutely amazed that every other pod went bad on me. I was further aggravated to find that I couldn’t extract the insulin from these pods once they had failed unlike other failed pods I’ve encountered in the past. It was like there was some kind of vacuum that prevented me from sucking it back out with the syringe. So in addition to five bad pods - I also wasted half a bottle of insulin that I won’t be getting back.

I searched the site and found one other person that mentioned this issue. Has anyone else encountered this? I very rarely encounter issues with the pods during prep but am open to hearing that I may have been doing something that might have caused the issue. (I am always careful to knock all the air bubbles out of the syringe.)

I haven’t called Omnipod about the failures yet. Four of these failures came while I was out of town and I had to have a friend go to my house and overnight me replacement pods. I was so mad at the time that I didn’t dare call anyone in customer service because I knew I couldn’t be calm when I was SO angry.

I normally love my Omnipod - except when I don’t.

Susan, this has happen to me. I too couldn’t extract my insulin from the pod. Customer service told me it was a communication error between the pod and the PDM, there was an issue with the pod. I have been using OmniPod since this past January and so far I’ve only had one box that was bad. Like you it appeared that ever other pod had some kind of issue. The only suggestion I can give is to make sure you don’t bump the pod while its priming. I make sure everyone is away from the table and I don’t even touch the table while its priming. I will get up from the table and stand next to it just to make sure I don’t bump anything.

I have had two or three pods that have failed while priming and at least one of these that I couldn’t pull insulin back out of. It is really frustrating. The worst part for me is that I can’t get the sound from the pod to stop until the PDM thinks it should be finished priming. Grrr… I haven’t had this consistent for a box though, it seems to just be random pods for me. Good luck finding an answer.

I have had 3 fail from one box just recently. Until then, my only failures were when I just started on the pod. I was rushing all 3 times so I sort of felt that maybe I had done something wrong…
Not that I am glad you had this experience, but it does sound similar to mine…I was not able to draw the insulin out of one, one wouldn’t connect with the PDM, and two did not beep at all after being filled, so I am glad to think that maybe it wasn’t me.
How frustrating that you had to deal with being out of town. We will love our pods all the more when the kinks are out.

A recent box of mine had 4 priming failures, too. Sounds like a pattern to me…
Customer service has told me in the past to make sure the insulin is at room temperature before filling and to leave the pod in the plastic case while it is priming. But doing those didn’t keep me from the 4-out-of-10 failure rate for that one box a few weeks ago.
Anyway, if you find it difficult to extract the insulin, make sure you have removed the plastic cap that is over the cannula/needle. I’ve found that with it off the insulin comes out of the reservoir a bit easier.

Great tip, Eric. I never would have thought about removing the needle cap. In my first 5 weeks, I have only had one problem, an occlusion, so the cap was already off.

I usually just draw my insulin back out through the fill port. There have been times when I’ve had to listen to it screech for 30 seconds or so though and would have been happy to use your more aggressive technique.

I draw mine out from the fill port as well, mine didnt scream at me though.

I called Omnipod after my third pod in a month did this - all from the same lot number. They replaced all three pods and gave me no grief about it. Each time, I was able to extract the insulin.

One time though, I was an hour from home and about to go into a restaurant for dinner and didn’t have a second spare to replace it. I was glad I had a syringe. Ugh. I was sooo annoyed. Now I take twice the pods I think I’ll need if I’m going to be too far from home to run back.

I’ve pumped for 9 years, so using room temperature insulin is a given for me. (My endos have always said it’s unnecessary to refrigerate insulin once it’s opened anyway.) And when I know the next pod will require a fresh bottle, I remember to get it out of the fridge with my 12-hours-till-expiration alarm sounds.

For those of you who are handy with a power drill, the piezo speaker (the part that makes noise) is a round, flat disc located in the top of the pod. My husband killed this one after I had thrown it away without deactivating it and the garbage can was screaming all morning until he found it.

After having a box with a few duds, my local Insulet rep mentioned all of the tips here and also gave me a tip yet mentioned – after deactivating a pod, move it far away from the new pod that you’re activating in order to prevent any interference issues. In addition to the other tips (room temp insulin, keep the pod in the plastic during priming, etc.), this seems to have worked for me.

Good point, Jaybear!

I learned the tip about moving the deactivated pod farther away. All three priming failures I had were in close proximity to the old pod. Now, I deactivate it, take it off, and either toss it away from me (especially in the car - I’ll toss it into the backseat) or I’ll put the old pod in my recycle bag in the closet and go back to my pod change. I haven’t had a priming failure since. Thanks for bringing that up!

You’re right, sometimes there is a vaccume. If removing the needle cap does not work like Eric said, simply inject a little air into the pod and pull back insulin. It takes several times of pushing air --pulling insulin, but you should be able to get about 75% of the insulin out. Very few times have I been able to get all that I put in back out.

Thanks, you guys. That helps to know.

Thanks so much for all the tips! I’m convinced now that I probably did nothing wrong - I always use room temp insulin, keep the pod in the container while prepping/priming, and actually throw the old pod away in another room before activating the new pod - all tips I learned here from the group previously.

Lots of great info on how to get the insulin back out of the bad pod. I hadn’t tried removing the cap and welcome the idea of busting one of these bad pods open to get the insulin back out.

Has Insulet asked any of you to return these “alarmed while priming” pods? My experience has been that they only ask you to return pods that fail while on your body - not those that failed prior to being stuck on. I’ve got all of them ready to go - just curious.

At least I’m now done with that box of pods and hope that I don’t encounter another bad lot again for a while. It really made me question my Omnipod love.

They had me send them all three, yes.

Thanks Melissa!

They have never asked me to send them a pod back and they’ve probably replaced 10 or 12 failed pods for me since I started last February. I’ve just attributed it to the probability that they’d dealt with my problem before from someone else and knew it was likely the same thing.