Published April 3, 2023
The Omnipod insulin delivery system (Figure 1) is a unique device approved for both adults and children with type 1 diabetes. The “Pod” is a tubeless, waterproof insulin pump that continually provides insulin. It is applied to an area on the body where insulin is usually injected (e.g., upper arm, thigh). Each Pod delivers up to 3 days (72 hours) of insulin. The Pod is controlled by a handheld Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM), a wireless device that must be programmed and kept near (within 5 feet) the Pod once activated.
Omnipod is manufactured by Insulet Corporation. There are different Pod systems: the Omnipod classic, the Omnipod DASH, and the Omnipod 5 Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) System. (The Omnipod classic will not be available after December 31, 2023; people currently using Omnipod classic should contact their healthcare provider.) Each Pod system is unique in the way it functions, and they are not interchangeable. For example, if an Omnipod DASH is given to a person who uses an Omnipod 5, the Omnipod DASH will not connect to their system. This can lead to a delay in insulin delivery.
This is exactly what happened according to a report we received from a person using the Omnipod classic. A doctor sent a prescription for Pods to the person’s community pharmacy. The day after picking up the prescription, they attempted to connect a new Pod to their Omnipod classic system. However, the pharmacy dispensed Pods for an Omnipod DASH system. Therefore, they needed to manually inject doses of insulin for a few days until the correct Pods were provided.
Here’s what you can do: If you or a loved one uses one of the Omnipod systems remind your healthcare provider to specify the Pods that match your system when refilling your prescription. When picking up the Pods, ask to speak to the pharmacist. Open the package in front of the pharmacist to check that the Pods actually match your system. Contact your healthcare provider for a refill before using all the Pods you have at home. Be sure to tell the provider which system you use so they can order the correct Pods to match your system.