PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s a new option for diabetics who have to give themselves insulin shots every day, and it’s a lot easier to use.
Full-time student Barb Kendall, of East McKeesport, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago.
“I was not prepared for it at 40,” she said.
She was sure her long-term blood sugar test would be normal and less than 7, but…
“Lo and behold, I had an A1C of 10,” she said, “and it was really scary.”
She controlled her blood sugar with pills. She was terrified of insulin.
“The shots, the vials, the measuring,” she said.
But the day came she needed insulin. Her doctor offered her a patch.
The device is loaded with medicine, and it goes on like a Band-Aid on the arm, leg or abdomen where a tiny needle in the patch goes into the skin with the press of a button.
It delivers a constant dose of rapid-acting insulin, and depending on fingerstick readings, additional insulin can be clicked in at mealtime.
“You sleep in it, you shower in it, you everything in it,” Barb said. “It’s just so easy.”
Kendall says it doesn’t hurt. It’s changed every 24 hours.
Taking insulin shots the regular way can be a challenge for some people. You have to remember to take the medicine and the syringes. You may have to give yourself a shot in front of other people. And it can add up to a lot of injections.
“Patients end up taking up to four shots a day, or even higher, depending on the dose,” Dr. Kamala Rajupet, of Partners in Nephrology & Endocrinology, said.
Because it’s hard to keep up, a lot of people still have uncontrolled blood sugar.
The patch device, called the V-Go, is for people requiring multiple insulin injections a day, who might be missing shots. It’s not for people who are extremely sensitive to insulin, or for those who need less than a 2-unit dose at meals. Some people get a rash with the adhesive. It is covered by insurance and available at your local pharmacy.
“There are no batteries, there’s no electronics, no software. Nothing for the patients to be bothered with,” Rajupet said. “The fact that it’s on them, the insulin, they’re carrying it with them… They don’t have to remember to take something else with them wherever they go. It’s discrete, it’s easy to use. These are all the things they tell me they love.”
As soon as Barb started with the patch, the results were dramatic.
“I went from 8.5 to 6.4 in three months,” she said. “My A1C dropped.”
Life in general got better, too.
“I can’t begin to describe to you how much better I feel,” Barb said. “I don’t have to focus on the diabetes. I can focus on my schoolwork. I can focus on getting out and getting more active.”