Dexcom inserter

Hello All -
What can really go wrong with using an expired Dexcom insertion device? Of course, I know if the sensor’s battery is dead, you have to replace it but what can possibly expire on the thing that inserts in?
Thanks in advance for any help! I have quite a few of them.

I don’t understand your question. The current Dexcom sensor inserter is a single-use supply. The expiration date associated with the inserter is the one carried by the sensor it inserts.

The only thing wrong with a Dexcom inserter that’s been used once is that’s now medical waste. It cannot be used again. It has no economic value. What am I missing?

@Terry4 - Likely this is confusion on the precise wording.

@Lauralt - Once you get used to the various components that make up the Dexcom cgm system, it will all become easier and more natural.

G4/G5 Transmitter - The small grey sealed device that has an internal battery. The G4 transmitter is expected to last a minimum of six months. The G5 transmitter should last exactly for 3 months (and 3 weeks). A single transmitter (G4 or G5) is delivered in its own box. A typical order would have one G4 transmitter or two G5 transmitters.

G4 Platinum / G5 Mobile Sensor - This is delivered four devices in one box. The “device” in the pouch in the sensor box consists of BOTH the “inserter” and the “sensor”. Once the inserter is used to attach the sensor to the skin then the (now used) inserter is useless and is thrown away. The sensor remains on the skin where it is FDA approved to last for 7 days. However it is common for people who are continuing to get good numbers after the initial 7 days to stop and start the sensor for another session. There is no battery in either the inserter nor the sensor.

Receiver - You control the cgm system and see the graph from this hand held unit which has a 1 year warranty although typically expected to last 3 years. The receiver has an internal rechargeable batter similar to a cell phone.

image image

1 Like

@Lauralt - In terms of the “Dexcom Sensor” (which arrives in the box as four pouches each containing a combination of the inserter device and the sensor) which does have an expiration date on the box, it is not the “inserter” portion of this that expires (as I understand it) but rather the “sensor” portion which has an expiration date.

In general, I always find it tough to decide WHICH expiration dates of all the various medical products are what I would consider to be REAL expiration dates and which ones I would consider to be GUIDELINE expiration dates. For example, I have no problems using an aspirin that is 7 years expired. It just doesn’t matter to me. Milk on the other hand that is 1 month expired - probably not such a good idea. So some things are pretty clear and some things are fuzzy.

Personally - I find the expiration on the Dexcom sensors to be one of those fuzzy areas that I am not completely settled on. With that being said, the last time we used an expired sensor, the readings were all over the place and completely useless. We stopped that sensor early after only 2 days and threw it away. Certainly it might have been something else that caused the very bad cgm readings. However based on that personal experience, I will not willingly use an expired sensor if we have a non-expired sensor.

Hopefully that gives the information you are looking for?

Yes, I’m talking about the insertor - the syringe type thing that puts the sticker on you. How does it expire? How can using one mess up your cgm numbers?


1 Like

I did this experiment recently. If you Google the phrase “expired dexcom sensors work fine”, I think it’s the first or second result in the search.

Detailed answers on that post, but the short answer is that it’s fine. The insertion stylus, tape, sensor. The whole thing is no problem.

1 Like

I’m currently using a sensor that expired sometime in 2015 – and it’s working perfectly fine (I’m on day 10 with it, too).

There is some enzyme on the sensor that has something to do with how it detects glucose That enzyme can become useless with age – I think that’s what the expiration date is trying to protect against. That said, all medical expiration dates are conservative. Better to expire something too soon, than to risk patients using something that won’t work. Of course, many expiration dates are FAR too conservative.


The original poster, @Lauralt, is asking about the expiration date of the inserter, not the sensor. I guess the short answer is: it expires when the current date is past the one printed on the label of its package.

@Lauralt, are you aware that the inserter and sensor are packaged together? Do you use the Dexcom CGM or are you asking on behalf of a close relative or friend?

I think there’s more to your question than the expiration date of the inserter. Can you describe what motivates you? Why are you asking this question? With that additional info, maybe we can give a more satisfying answer.

Ok, great. Thank you. I’m using one now and my sugar have been really crazy. Now I know it’s not that to fault but the other thing I thought. Process of elimination! Appreciate it.

1 Like

I got it now, Terry. But the rest seem to think it doesn’t matter.

It’s the sensor that expires not the inserter. The expired sensors don’t work. They crash and burn quickly. They are supposed to be changing the inserter to make it smaller with a smaller needle. I hope so!

The new smaller inserter will be coming with the G6. The original plan had been to modify the G5 inserter but Dexcom has announced that they are not going to do that. The G6 is expected sometime in 2018.

1 Like

Not good. I wonder if they will make the g6 sensors only fit the g6 system? So we have to upgrade once again? And it has less calibration? I’m not happy with that. The G5 has been no more accurate than G4 was for me and I was not able to use the Apple Watch without a new phone so it was pointless. Having to change the transmitter every 3 months is a big hassle too. I’m sick of scars and irritation from jabbing myself every week. I need a new inserter now. They predict an even smaller no calibration device based on G6 but I doubt it will be accurate enough to really rely on for dosing insulin.

Absolutely. The G6 sensors will only fit the G6 transmitter. That is already decided and done. The G6 system is finished and no longer in R&D. It needs to be approved by the FDA and then rolled out in a planned fashion by Dexcom. Dexcom has this roadmapped for 2018. The new “one-button” inserter is part of the G6 system and will not be released earlier.

The G6 will only require one calibration per day. That by no means you can not calibrate more often. Really it is your choice. However it is FDA approved for one calibration per day.

The G5 is FDA approved for two calibrations per day. Sometimes we do two per day. Sometimes one per day. Sometimes 3 or 4. Really depends on how accurate we feel the numbers are running.

The “even smaller no calibration device based on the G6” will not be for insulin dosing. This would be for other purposes. Perhaps non-insulin dependent T2 who want to monitor their BG - but not for dosing purposes. Ultimately of course that could change but this is currently what is in the works with Dexcom.


Wow is that smaller??? It looks just as big as the other one. :flushed::joy_cat: And the needle is concealed- so is the needle really smaller??? I hope I can get a sample to see if it’s really any better. I was hoping for the smaller needle which would cause less trauma and something which will take up less space in my purse etc. too bad the other device will not be good enough for dosing. Actually it looks bigger- maybe it’s just the photo? :expressionless::eyes:

Yep mine is so innaucrate a lot of the time that my endo said to calibrate more.

No - not the inserter. Plus I likely made the sizing of the pics all funky. I actually have not seen scale pictures of the current inserter and the upcoming new inserter side by side to be able to see the difference.

The part being referenced that will be smaller will be the “no calibration” transmitter to come after the G6. As I understand the comments on this, it will NOT be for people on insulin therapy - unless I am misunderstanding the meaning of the phrase, “non-intensive strategy”.

The G6 is going to be submitted to the FDA not only for dosing as a fingerstick replacement just as the G5 is but also for automated insulin delivery. The G6 is the cgm system which is going to be used for the Tandem t:slim X2 Hybrid Closed Loop update.

Also when you referenced the “smaller needle”. I just found the quote I was looking for:
According to Sayer, “The needle is in your skin for the amount of time it takes a humming bird to beat once.”
So it is not about a change in the needle size (maybe it is or isn’t different size - I don’t know) but specifically it is intended to be FAST and non-clumsy. As compared to the current inserter where you push this then pull that if your fingers didn’t slip off halfway in the middle.

Kevin Sayer, CEO of DexCom
Q2 2017 Earnings Call
August 01, 2017 4:30 pm ET
"Our G6 pivotal study is complete, and we plan to submit our PMA by the end of the third quarter."

“Turning to our non-intensive strategy, based upon our research to-date, we believe a highly accurate, real-time, calibration-free disposable sensor system offered at a lower cost, will change the way Type 2 patients can be managed. We continue to make progress with our first-generation device to serve this market in our collaboration with Verily.”

“Right now, our regulatory team is very focused on the G6 submission. And because G6 is a sensor platform that drives the first Verily device, we will give you a more detailed update on the timing of that device on our next call following the G6 submission.”

1 Like

Wow what waste of time just to make more money off us. I have not found the G5 to be any more accurate than G4 so it’s nonsense and dishonest to say it is.

I will most likely not be upgrading. Neither of these will ever be safe to bolus off of. I’d never do that. And I’ll never let a pump or anything auto dose insulin other than basal delivery I have decided on.

If the needle is smaller it causes less trauma that is the truth. That device will be worse if it’s more automated- the automated insets I used to use were terrible. They caused a lot of trauma for me and inflammation etc. I’m much better off with the steel cannula which I insert myself although I can still sometimes have pain problems with them.

So why did someone at dexcom tell me they were making a smaller needle insertion device. I got my hopes up for nothing.

Update: I called dexcom after seeing both my phone and iPad on their list of G5 mobile app compatible devices and wondering why after multiple phone calls no one has been able to help me get the app. I now have the app on my iPad- my phone can’t update to the needed Os due to storage space. It is working and alerting me etc. apple had actually told me I couldn’t get that OS on my older phone at all so they’re prolly right but who knows.

The only problem is you can’t set any of the alerts to vibrate. Someone suggested getting a cheap set of earphones plugging in and cutting off the end to mute the alarms. So I’ll try that and then try the watch too finally. You don’t need a data package for it to work it seems you just need to be connected for the first registration of the transmitter on the watch I think. I’ve forgotten now if it’s the transmitter or something else. Finally after a year or so maybe I may get to try this.

All of my alerts on my iPhone are set to vibrate. The 55 Urgent Low does sound if I do not immediately acknowledge the alert. Is it possible that you don’t have the latest update?


It’s on my iPad. I don’t see any way to set to vibrate and someone at dexcom said you can’t ?? Very odd. I just downloaded the app but I’ll check.

That is probably the iPad then because my iPhone vibrates for all of my alerts.