Recent Omnipod failures

I know this is a topic that comes up every few years or more but the last 6 months I have had way too many Omnipod pump failures and am starting to wonder if during Covid the factories making the Pods were not watching quality control.
The most common problem is that on day “two” about 36 to 48 hours after changing a Pod, my numbers randomly spike and I fight highs in the 200’s for several hours before I give myself so much insulin they finally come down (and then I chase the low) or I give up and change out the Pod (which I do report to Omnipond and they replace it. ) But am I the only one having more and more Pod failures?

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What type of insulin are you using?


Well, I’ve found that NovoLog is better than Humalog for pump use. The problem you’ve described sounds like what I saw with Humalog.

It could just be bad sites. I don’t think it’s a pod issue.

I have had more of an issue this year too. I had 3 out of 5 from one box and 2 more from a box with the same lot number. I had started to think I was getting a problem and then everything was fine with the next box. That was around last Jan/Feb. Then I just had the same thing happen with 4 from the same lot, but 2 different boxes. I am eyeing the other ones with the same lot number and not wanting to use them. I called in the first ones and I will these too, but I have about 8 to call in. I am lucky as my script is written to change them out every 2 days so I always have extra. I have been changing them out pretty quickly at the first sign and not waiting to make sure.

You start to worry it’s you until everything works fine with a new box. And I wonder it’s some of the pods, maybe made a little differently that aren’t working well with me for some reason. I use them all over my stomach area and really varied so it’s not a particular area. But it easily could be covid related and/or where they are manufacturing them.

But I have had a particular problem a couple of times this year too, It seems to me last year I had a bunch of bad pods over a couple of months too. I am doing nicely again with a new lot number and having no issues…but don’t want to even touch the other lot lol.

If your sites are inflamed, then possibly you are allergic to the adhesive. And that will effect your absorption.

@Eric2 That’s interesting about Novolog being better with pumps than Humalog. I will keep that information filed away for the future just in case. Was it a continuing problem or just off and on?

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For me, Humalog was consistently worse than NovoLog. I used Humalog for about 44 years before starting a pump. I was loyal to it. But once I started on a pump, I needed to switch because Humalog was not working well. And I found NovoLog was so much more stable.

I have references I can share when I am back to my computer.

Humalog was introduced in 1996. That means it’s been 25 years available. Maybe you were on Humulin.

No problem inflammation at the site. No obvious problems at all. I just had another pod flame out at 3 am. It was firmly attached. No smell of insulin. No leakage. Cannula looked fine. No blood. No alarm. No reason to stop working and my BG to skyrocket

If you get 3 failures from the same box of pods, ask Insulet to replace the box.

“Mr.Bond, they have a saying in Chicago. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.”

  • Ian Fleming.

So far this has been one of my better years. Maybe one pod failure (knock on wood!) In the last 9 months… I do notice that after priming when I turn the pod over to remove the clear cap, there is tiny bit of insulin leaking out at the canula end on every other pod or so. Can see and smell it. Has not affected pod performance though and my A1C was down last reading. I do not remember seeing this tiny insulin leak in prior years. Made me wonder if something changed in manufacturing.

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I am having one Pod failure a week. It is exhausting and of course I wonder at the effect of all those 200’s

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I used to get pod failures with large boluses. I get them now once about every 3 months. Occlusion error detected was the error.

To be clear. When I say pod failure I mean random high numbers that linger for 2 or 3 or 4 hours no matter how much insulin I bolus . No error message or alarms. It just doesn’t work as if it is blocked or clogged. I. change the pod or do a needle shot and my bg comes down. Sometimes this happens at 3 am when I haven’t eaten in 8 hours. Clearly I’m not exercising etc. I do basal testing so know my basal setting are ok. The pod just stops working.

I agree, they have a tendency to creep up. There will no error message, but you will give insulin and it won’t come down, just keeps slowly going up or staying high…

This will not be an explained reason so you give yourself a correction dose and your numbers still creep up and you do it again and your numbers still climb or sit high. And since it’s not always right after you just changed your pod it catches you unaware at first. And I think they are working some because it’s not a fast continual spike like an outright failure.

I am more suspicious now and I change it out faster, I am more likely with that first unexplained climb that didn’t respond to the first correction dose to change it immediately. But even then by the time you realize it and give a shot it takes time to come back down. But at least it keeps more control over how high you end up.

And it is irritating as it ruins my TIR lol through no fault of mine!

But have you noted the lot numbers? Because mine that were frequent both times were the same lot numbers. The first time it was one lot, 2 different boxes. But this last time it was 7 from 2 different lots. I think 3 or 4 different boxes. I’m not sure. The only problem is I didn’t keep track of the first lot number I had issues with, so one of these lots might be the same lot from before. I have a large stockpile so I easily could have had some of the same lot from before. I rotate them but I keep the “oldest” supply in a cupboard in the kitchen. I just grab a box and open it. And I didn’t realize it was all the same lot the first time until I called them in. And then I threw them out as time had passed not thinking I might have more in the cupboard. So I might still be dealing with some of that lot.

I have now gone through 2 boxes of a different lot number with no issues so I know it’s something with certain lots for me.

Marie. That is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Creeping higher and higher despite blousing over and over. I bought a little calendar and have kept track of the lot numbers. Many of them were the same lot number. I’ve started a new box and already had one fail (from a new lot number). I just wondered how many people were experiencing this

This happens with all pumps to be honest. I don’t know if it’s scar tissue or the set not being deep enough etc.
I wish the pods had an option for a set that goes in on an angle.
It would avoid half of these issues.
That was why I didn’t continue with pods. I couldn’t get 3 days wear on them

@Timothy I know a certain amount of failure happens. And that would be normal for that random off and on failure. I also know some people have problems with certain infusion sets and have to switch for different materials or depths. And we can’t with pods. Unless we switch to a whole other system. And some people do have to use a different system because Omnipod doesn’t work for them. But this is different unless some lots aren’t inserting quite as deep and only some of us are affected by that? I was wondering if I was developing a problem and maybe I am with certain ones. But it’s not pods overall because I just went 6 months with only 1 failure until a few weeks ago again.

For example, what happened 6 months ago: I ran too high of numbers at night and I had been correcting the evening before so I changed it out. No problem, it happens. So I go snorkeling for 2 hours, ran exceptionally higher than even my normal problematic high from intense exercise and I figured the ocean maybe caused a problem for it, so I switch it out. By that night I have been dumping insulin into me and still running high. So I switch it again. When I called them all in I had 5 total and all from the same lot. I hadn’t called any in for months and months so out of a minimum of 30 pods, 5 were bad and all from the same lot. I believe 2 different boxes.

Interesting and note to self. Then,

6 months later, I have a failure again, and then another, switch boxes, no problems. Go back to the box that had 2 bad again, it’s okay and try another and boom, not working well. I used 4 out of 5 of that box and 3 failed. Not going to use that last one lol. Then I have a couple of boxes still with that lot number that I don’t really want to try. Those are the ones I am staring at lol.

But I also had another lot I used, not from one box, but more random but with the same lot number. So I have 7 to call in, 3 from one lot and 3 from another. And in between 10 pods used with no issues from a different lot. That’s the key to me, something is causing a particular problem with certain lots or the pods themselves have an inherent problem or an inherent problem that ends up affecting me.

So is it particular to me? I am wondering if certain pods in certain lots are. I could even think it’s coincidence being the same lot, after all I get sent 9 boxes with a lot of the same lot numbers. So I am having failures and they just happen to be the same lot. But then I get the streak of no problems at all from a different lot, then I try one back from the “bad” lot and it doesn’t work again? So it’s not just the pods in general for me that are the issue.

Marie, your observations and practice regarding pod problems and their connection to lot numbers is careful and methodical. It’s situations like this that I wish there was some authoritative third party that patients could report to that would examine the facts when this kind of thing crops up.

I wonder if it’s possible to report this rash of pod failures to the FDA as an “adverse event.” Does Insulet limit your interaction to customer service types or can they escalate your complaints to someone with more knowledge and authority?

If I were you, I would not show as much patience as you have. I guess that’s because Insulet has built up a lot of good-will with you because of extended runs of good performance.

I certainly can understand an occasional bad supply but the numbers you report are far from occasional. Do you have any viable back-up plans like another pump or an MDI regimen that you could restart?

Are other Omnipod users reporting similar experiences? What about other venues like Facebook?

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