I’ve got the Minilink from Medtronic and I’ve lost all faith in it. Now I’m about to get a Dexcom, because of the needle size and cost of supplies. Any opinions would be most appreciated.
I’ve had the Dexcom for a few months or so. I really like it. The sensor site doesn’t bother me. I do have a nice layer of fat so that may help. I had heard that the probe on the Dexcom is smaller. Hope you get along well with your Dexcom.
What kind of issues are you having with the Minilink? Personally I don’t think Dexcom is going to be better, just different with its own set of issues. Give more info about the Minilink and I will be more than happy to help you.
David, the Minilink has the biggest needle of them all, it takes too long to calibrate them, and if my bG is outside the Minimed “secret isig” preset values when I try to calibrate, I get an error reading. Two errors like that, and the Minilink deems it a “bad sensor”. All of this thusfar has taken an hour or more. So I wait a while for my bG to go down, and start over. If it’s late at night, I have to stay up until the whole process is finally resolved, or I give up, which ever is first. And out of every box of 10 sensors, I end up sending at least one back for a replacement. And there have been several times that I felt low, the CGM said I was fine, but a quick fingerstick later reveals I’m actually 44. I just feel like I’ve been wasting my money and my time with Minilink sensors. Wow, I just reread this and apparently I am somewhat bitter.
Very fair statement. I will admit I am biased towards the Minilink, but having not tried the others I can’t be objective except for what I have read. I will also admit I have had my own issues with the Minilink and it is far from perfect but for the most part we get along. I think for me the reason it has been so successful is that I wear the sensor for 12-25 days before changing it. Once I get it working I just keep it going because the longer it is in the better the results.
Some thing to try:
First, insert your sensor before you go to bed and just leave it in. Don’t connect the transmitter until morning. Calibrating late at night sucks and when you first wake up your BG is more likely to be normal or less volatile and the sensor has had time to get wet.
Second, I would say the first 24 hours of a sensor are the least accurate so just wait it out and try to only calibrate it about every 8 hours. I calibrate mine first thing in the morning before I eat anything that is going to cause a shift in my BG.
Third, if you get a bad sensor error after trying to calibrate it take the transmitter off and put it on the charger, charge it and then remove it. Leave the sensor in and wait a while until your BG calms down and is at an acceptable level, reconnect your transmitter and start the process over. I have done this and I get the sensors to work, also if your Isig is low rub the area where the sensor is and that will help it get wet.
If you have more questions please feel free to ask a way. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought I had read that a Dexcom needs more calibrations that the Minilink. Let me know, Dave
The Dexcom requires the same number of calibrations as the minilink, but lasts much longer than the advised 3 days for minilink. I could only leave my sensors in 6 days or less before my skin would scream to breathe. Thank you for your input!
I was looking at CGMS meters a few months ago. I almost settled on the Dexcom 7. The price was low enough I could buy it out of pocket. I don’t have insurance. However, I was looking at the owners where I found out the transmiter is non replaceable. The built in battery is estimated to last 500 hours, so roughly every 18 months it must be replaced…!!! The transmitter costs less than $15 to in effect you are buying a new battery for $400 every year and a half.
Would you buy a glucometer you had to replace just because the batteries died? I’m sorry this is a marketing ploy to increase profits, it appears dishonest to me. The only one on the market is the Abbot Navigator. Transmitter and receiver batteries are replaceable. The sensor kit has test strips and a battery. It is owner service able, so when I buy one this is what I will bet. I cannot in good conscience reward any company that will engage is such dishonorable practices.
I have been on the Dexcom for about 4 months, on and off. Of course, as a user, I may come off as biased. However, the decision on which sensor to use must be individual. I was looking for an accurate sensor for the low BG ranges, one that could be worn for an extended period of time and that was relatively small to prevent aggitation if bumped or rubbed against objects. When looking at each of the CGM sensors available, I found the Dexcom to best fit my needs. The small size does pose some obsticles when it comes to batteries (unfortunately as these sensors get smaller and smaller it will be harder to have a battery replacement compartment; however, I hope that Dexcom will come up with a charger for the sensor so you do not have to replace it every year and a half-at $200 not $400). Although, looking at the investments each sensor company is making, by the time I need a new transmitter, there may be a better product available! I have found that my Dexcom is extremely accurate at mid and low BG numbers, and often times even predicts lows! This was a big part of my decision. The Dexcom needs calibration every 12 hrs, however, unlike the MM Minilink and Navigator, you can calibrate at any time (exercise/mealtime, etc) and any blood sugar!
Again your decision is a personal one, but best of luck to whichever you choose!
I have to disagree with you in that there is nothing dishonorable about what Medtronic does with their CGM. After 18 months it may cost $500 dollars to replace the transmitter and it may only be a $15 dollar part but the technology, equipment and labor costs are not cheap. This technology isn’t like buying a tv where the demand and competition is going to reduce the cost.
I really think one has look at the big picture and the amount of risk that Medtronic is actually taking in trying to develop this technology.
Just my $.02 cents-Dave
I am also a fan of minimed but I chose them because they are the only ones who’s CGM can display the info directly on the pump. I would not like to have to have 2 seperate pieces of equipment. I hate to admit but I use each sensor at least 7 days. I guess I will have to stop if it starts getitng irritated.
I have had the Mini CGM for about a month now and I’m really happy with it so far. I totally agree about inserting the sensor at night, then waiting until the next morning to attach the transmitter. My trainer suggested this, and it has worked the best for me. My main complaint has been that I haven’t been able to get as much wear about of each sensor as others have reported. The longest I’ve been able to wear one is 5 days. By about day 4, my skin starts getting irritated in the area where the sensor attaches and each time I’ve removed an old sensor I have a small rash from it. These have gone away about a day after taking the sensor off though. Overall, I’m really pleased and have found it to be pretty accurate so far.
Here are a couple of tips so that you may get extended sensor life. First off what do you use to hold down your sensor? I use IV-3000, many people complain that it is expensive but I think it works the best in situations where you want to keep the sensor are dry because it breathes very well. Recently when I put the IV film over the sensor I leave the back part of the transmitter open. This allows the shower water to better drain out and I have more material to hold down the front of the sensor.
It also helps to remove the IV film after 3 days which is a good time to recharge your transmitter. If you wait for a week on day 8 of wearing a sensor you will get a weak signal alarm and then a lost sensor. Recharging the transmitter is the key to wearing it longer. Preventing the area around the insertion point from getting irritated is a matter of making sure the sensor does not move or shift around and stays dry.
If you do the couple of thing I think you may get longer wear out of your sensor. My last sensor was 20 days plus because I lost count. The only reason I removed it was the accuracy was going down hill and so I was forced to change it.
Hopefully this will help you out.
Hi, David. I appreciate the flip side. However, the numberr just don’t add up. Don’t miss understand me. I fully support any company to a FAIR profit especially when it is new inovations/technology. Maybe in time it will decrease to the point most people can afford this tech. It has the potential to boost control. If the only thing wrong is a dead battery, then how can anyone justify being so wasteful when all it needed was a 50 cent battery?
I agree it is wasteful. On the flip side if they didn’t keep it small people would complain about it being to large and that would be a detractor from using it. When I look at mine I can see that it is all glued up probably to keep the water out. Everything these days is disposable so a lot of time designers are not thinking about long term use which is unfortunate to say the least.
If any of you knew how expensive the patents are to even get these things you might cut them a brake.
Umm…did you read my original post to this? I have no issue for Medtronic charging what they do. I know it is expensive to design, manufacture and get patents for the technology.
I find the MM needle size isn’t really an issue so long as your selective on using sites that have sufficient fatty deposits. I use my thighs and hip areas primarily. I use the MM 522 with RTMS (Minilink).
I just found this site and want to say that I’m sorry that I didn’t find you all sooner. I’ve been on a pump (Paradigm) for over six years and started the CGM system in April '07. I’m now on my second transmitter as my first transmitter died about two months ago. It took two months to get a new one becuase I was working with MiniMed to diagnose the problem in my first transmitter to make sure it was actually dead, and also trying to work with my medical insurance to get some coverage. I finally paid out of pocket to get the new transmitter that I’ve been using now for about 30-days. Anyway, just wanted to recognize all the good comments / info on this site becuase it would have been really helpful for me when I was first looking at CGM.
I just found your group yesterday, so my apology for my tardy addition, but the issue on point has been one I have experienced. It would be nice if Medtronics had a replacement program for those using their transmitter and have invested in their system and it goes to hell. Their lack of such a program or anything thing other than “Is your credit card number we have on file correct? And we’ll be happy to send you a new CGM… for $999”, has this customer looking for another system. I am aware everything has it’s challenges, but after over a year of dealing with the the Minimed CGM challenges, I am looking for treatment which makes my control better, not another challenge.