Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

2012 Consumer Guide

We scoured the market and found more than 100 products that aim to make diabetes management easier, faster, and more accurate

By Tracey Neithercott

Diabetes self-care devices and products shown in this guide help people with diabetes such as (from left) Sue Leferson, Donald Smith, and Evelyn Schommer live life to the fullest at school, work, and play.

For diabetes info on the go, visit, the ADA's mobile site.
2012 Consumer Guide

Consumer Guide Charts
Blood Glucose Meters
Lancing Devices
Continuous Glucose Monitors
Insulin Pumps
Infusion Sets
Insulin Pens
Aids for Insulin Users
Diabetes Medications
Products for Treating Lows
Diabetes Software Apps

Because you spend the money on your diabetes tools, we thought it only fair for us to spend our time (and save you precious hours) researching the devices and products that can help your self-care.

On the pages that follow, you'll find information about seven major categories of products people with diabetes use every day: blood glucose meters, insulin pens, insulin pumps, infusion sets, continuous glucose monitors, glucose gels and tablets, and aids that make taking insulin easier. You'll find product listings and questions to consider before you buy.

What you won't see? Prices. Each product's cost to you depends on your insurance company and how much of the total cost it covers. That's why if you and a friend buy the same pump, he or she may pay considerably more (or less) than you did.

Also missing from the guide are any opinions from Diabetes Forecast editors. (The policy of the American Diabetes Association, which publishes this magazine, is to endorse no products.) Choosing the right products and devices is personal, so search for those that will work best for you.

New & Notable
Here are a few novel products that have come out since last year's guide.

This cute bumblebee isn't a toy; it's a distraction from pain for people, especially kids, injecting insulin. When held to the skin, the palm-sized device sends vibrations down to the nerves. Read more here.
Spring Universal Infusion Set
Spring Universal, a new entrant in the insulin pump category (the company's pump is described on the opposite page), launched an infusion set that works with all Luer lock–compatible pumps. Read more here.
GlucoLift All Natural Glucose Tablets
These are billed as the first glucose tablets without artificial colors and flavoring. Read more here.

On the Horizon
These products weren't available in the United States by Oct. 1, 2011, our cutoff date for inclusion in the guide. But keep an eye out for them in the future.

iBGStar meter
Sanofi-Aventis's USB-sized meter turns an iPhone or an iPod Touch into a blood glucose meter. You can use the USB meter alone to get a simple reading. Add an iPhone or iPod Touch and you can test blood glucose levels, chart and analyze trends, and make notes that go along with your readings. The device is available in Germany and France but awaits U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

PositiveID's cell phone–sized tool works with your meter to manage your blood glucose data. When connected to a compatible meter, iGlucose wirelessly pulls data from the meter and automatically generates logbook entries, charts, and graphs. People with diabetes, parents of kids with diabetes, and health care providers can view them at a secure online site or via e-mail, text, or fax. The product has FDA approval, and sales are expected to begin in the first three months of 2012.

Easy Check glucose testing device
Imagine testing your blood glucose without finger sticks. PositiveID is trying to make the dream a reality with its Easy Check breath glucose tester. The product is still under development. The company plans to apply for FDA approval in late 2012 or early 2013.

Solo Micropump
Much like the OmniPod, the smaller, thinner Solo pump is a tubeless device that holds insulin in a "patch" that's attached to the skin. But unlike the OmniPod, the Solo allows for bolusing both via its handheld remote and by pressing two buttons on the pump itself. Roche plans to launch the Solo Micropump in the United States once it receives FDA approval.

V-Go patch pump
Forget bells and whistles. This pump from Valeritas delivers basal rates and boluses, but has limited ability for fine-tuning basal rates or bolus types. The pump adheres to the skin and remains for 24 hours. It's discarded after that, and a new patch is inserted. Users can set a basal dose with the push of a button and deliver boluses, all from the thin pump. The V-Go has FDA clearance, and the company hopes to release the product in the first half of 2012.

Cellnovo insulin pump
Another sleek design, Cellnovo's system includes a small, thin insulin pump that works with a color touch-screen remote that's reminiscent of the iPhone. The handheld device has a built-in meter and wirelessly transmits real-time data to a secure website for both users and health care providers. Cellnovo expects to begin selling the pump in the United States during the second half of 2012, pending FDA approval.

T:Slim pump
Tandem's take on the insulin pump is a slim, sleek device that could have been designed by Apple. The pump is 25 percent slimmer than others on the market, holds 300 units of insulin, and features a color touch screen. It has received FDA approval and is expected to go on sale in the first half of 2012.

Spring Zone Insulin Pump
This compact insulin pump uses—you guessed it—a spring-based pumping system instead of a motor-based one. That makes the device lighter and, the manufacturer says, less likely to suddenly go kaput. Spring has just applied to Europe's equivalent of the FDA for approval there. Shortly after it's available overseas, the company hopes to launch it stateside. Also planned at Spring: a patch pump that's still under development.

OmniPod pump update
Next up for pump manufacturer Insulet is OmniPod, the next generation. The new pod will be a third smaller than the current version but will contain all of the same features. An application has been filed with the FDA.

Animas Vibe pump/CGM
Animas and DexCom got together and turned out a combo insulin pump–continuous glucose monitor that's currently available only in Europe. The system includes features found on the Animas insulin pump but also has a color screen for easier viewing of trends. The company plans to file with the FDA early in 2012.

Symphony CGM
Echo Therapeutics is making headway with its above-the-skin continuous glucose monitor. Unlike other CGMs, which use an under-the-skin sensor to test glucose levels, the Symphony system uses a biosensor to read glucose levels through the skin before relaying information to a wireless remote monitor. A recently conducted trial on the device found 99 percent accuracy, though additional studies are needed before the company submits to the FDA for approval. A pivotal trial with hundreds of participants will take place this year.


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