Defective Pods with omnipod

I have been using the omnipod for a year and a half. I am thinking of giving up on the stystem because I am getting so many high blood sugars from defective pods. Recently I have had many pods fail after wearing it for a day or so. There is no alarm to let me know anything is wrong, I don't know until my blood sugar goes way up and I have bolused many times and I have no drop in blood sugar. I also have had many pods not work after I change pods and sites. I activate a new pod and then several hours later start seeing my blood sugar levels go way high and I blus many times and raise temp. basal which only result in increased blood sugars and I have to take the pod off. I was in Hawaii recently and was a long way from a pharmacy, I did not have a flexipen with me and ended up with blood sugarsthat were over 500 as the pod failed after wearing it for a day. I woke up today at 402, blused many times with no drop, I had worn this pod for a day in half. My biggest problem is usually the pod will not work as soon as I place a new pod. Any tips or help would be appreciated. I have tried switching sites but still no luck.

First of all, I have to reply since it looks like our dogs are twins!
Here is a reply I made re a similar problem: "I've been on the pod for 5+ years now & Type 1 for 31 years. After struggling with post change highs for a long time, I've arrived at the following strategy:

1. I ALWAYS change right after breakfast (bolus for meal with OLD pod).

2. check sugar every hour or so until I feel it is definitely working; if it's high at all, I assume pod isn't yet working, so I bolus with needle & start drinking A LOT of water. I MEAN AT LEAST 8 OZ EVERY 20 MINUTES. Mostly, I use a needle for the lunch bolus because, for me, assuming the pod isn't working & using a needle to bolus for the 1st 5-6 hours lets me keep my sugars in MUCH better control.

3. I don't eat at all if my sugar is high. I'm still assuming the pod is not ready to function properly & continue with the water drinking & using needles to bolus. Usually, after about 5 hours the pods seem to be working just fine. For me, this strategy has pretty much eliminated the pod change anxiety & by dinner I can use the new pod with no problems. Of course, much of the time the pods seem to work immediately.

4. I keep about 3 needles in my PDM case at all times so I feel if everything goes south, I'll be able to keep fairly good control until the pod starts to function or
I get home & finally decide to try another pod.

I was never able to get much help from my endo or Insulet, but if you search this site you will find many ideas for coping with this very problem. Do you like your diabetes
educator? Maybe you can check out some of the tips you find here with him/her-or with whichever medical provider you prefer.
Don't give up.
Good luck

Hi lola, my son has been using the omnipod system about as long as you. we struggled with post pod change highs. but have basically rectified that, we do a .5 u bolus before a pod change, check his bs and bolus about 1.5 for a normal bs with lots of water ( i am the water enforcer esp when he is high!) we do up to 5 if he is high this is with no food, ( it seems the pump needs to be primed so to speak) we try to have him wait 1 1/2 - 2 hours to eat after a change, we usually change him out around 4 pm. this has helped alot! plus i think sites get tired he has been doing better with his arms lately as he was overusing his belly. your case sounds pretty extreme i know how frustrating this can be. maybe a pump vacation and reassess? in any case i hope things get better! best wishes amy

A few things may help. First, when you say the pod "fails" after one day with no alarm means that there is not an occlusion. Have you checked for leakage of insulin around the site by sticking you finger near the cannula and sensing if wet and/or the smell of the insulin preservative (o-cresol-- smells like "tar")? If so, then the insulin is channeling to the surface of the skin. This can happen frequently if the pod is not well anchored. I need to shave my pod sites with a rotary razor so that I get good attachment to the skin. Also when I affix it to the skin I press down hard so the the adhesive directly around the site is firmly in place. If this is the case then the site actually pushes up a little into the cannula cavity visible for the window. When you remove the pod you should have a raised area of the skin around where the cannula was ("puckered up"). That means the adhesive was firmly in place during the life of the pod. It may also increase the pressure of the tissue around the cannula helping to keep a seal.

The other important thing has been discussed in this thread: Highs after Pod change? I have been experimenting a long time now and for me I need to follow a pod change with between 2 to 3 units of bolus to be stable. This means that there is something compressible within the pod (air and/or the hydraulic plumbing of the pod itself). Specifically, if my BG is < 100 or my Dexcom is trending down, I bolus 2 units. If my BG is > 120 or my BG is trending up, I bolus 3 units. If stable around 100 I bolus 2.5 units. This has worked quite well for me. When I do the bolus I don't use a BG for the bolus calcs, nor do I choose the "eat now" option. That way there is no bolus on board added to the calculator.

Also, remember that when you are without insulin as a consequence of this pod behavior and your BGs skyrocket, the liver is kicking out glucose because there is no insulin to suppress the glycogen breakdown. As a result it takes way more insulin to get back to equilibrium, much more than a simple correction based on the BG under normal circumstances due to food alone.

As always, check yourself frequently after a pod change to make sure you don't overdo the pod change bolus.

Let us know how it goes!

Thanks for the information, I am not having highs from od changes, The pods do not work at all. I just had another fail after a day in a half. Bood sugars were good starting going up during the night I bolused many times and increased temp. basal and I gave much extra insulin only to end up at 405 in the morning. One I gave insulin by pemn my numbers starting to come dow within 30 min. minutes, The pod was firmly in place and I did not see any leakage of smell any. I left the pod on anyway and once I got back to normal range, I tried to bolus with the omnipod again, but BG went up instead of down. I have had this happen many times as well as when I out a new pod on I end up sky high after many boluses and temp basal increase. This does not happen all the time but I have had problems with at least 8 pods in 2 months.

There have been reports of quality control issues with some lots of the pods in the past. I actually had a similar experience to you almost 2 years ago. I opened up the pods and found insulin was leaking inside the pod, It appeared to be bad plumbing connections. I switched to another box and different lot number of the pods and the problem went away. You can open the pods with a screwdriver at the wide end of the pod, prying the two pieces apart. if you have another box of pods, try those.

Insulet is very reluctant to admit to any problems except for outright alarm failures, but you should report your problems, especially if you do find leaked insulin inside the pod. I suspect they don't track these issues, or track them informally so as not to compromise their regulatory requirements. Also, I'm sure they follow online forums closely to see what is happening "out in the wild". I know they are aware of the "highs after pod change problem".

I think of a site problem. Pump's occlusion alarm isn't reliable often.
Still, insulin could be "trapped" underskin and not reach blood flow to reach all your body.
That way it acts only locally and it's discarded at last.
If you were on a tubed pump you could try a different set (longer needle), but with omnipod you have to find a different site and let your "old" sites rest for a month or two.

What sites did you use in the last months ?

that was my next question garidan, what sites are you using lola, have you been mixing it up, have you been more active or are you a restless sleeper, maybe you are getting partial occlusions during the night? lately we have been putting a tegaderm strip over jacobs pod because they can become unstable or fall off with swimming or just being really active. it could also be a bad lot as mark suggested i would switch to a new box. have you considered going back to MDI for a bit to see if things improve. i think i would at this point if i were you. i feel bad because most do work out the 'issues' with their omnipod and carry on but your problems seem worse than most, hang in there! amy

I had something similar happen too recently with my blood sugars going and staying high despite multiple corrective bolusing. This is an incident you should always call product support at Insulet Corp./Omnipod, and they usually replace the pod without any problems. I do notice that once in a while I'll have a bad pod or bad batch, but not so frequently that I would quit using the pod system.

As far as high blood sugars after pod changes, one thing that I do that some others do too is when it's time for a regular scheduled pod change, I change it in the morning before breakfast and then do a temporary increased basal rate to compensate for the increased blood sugars that are normally seen when changing to a new pod. For me, I increase it to between +40% to +50% for 3-4 hours, but your amount may need to be different. This seems to work for me most of the time.