Diabetes Testing

No More Second Fiddle

When we talk about testing, it’s usually about our blood glucose meters. The lowly and inexpensive lancing device plays second fiddle.

No more.

In recent months two outstanding lancing devices that minimize pain have become available. And another is on its way.

Meters don’t hurt. But the lancets in our lancing devices usually do.

Testing on alternative sites, like our forearms, can minimize the pain. But there are many times when it’s a bad idea to use these alternative sites, as I have written in “Lag Time in AlternativeLand”.

The Accu-Chek Multiclix

Roche’s Multiclix lancing device, originally packaged only with the Aviva meter, is a big advance in comfort over the common spring-driven devices. This cam-driven device is more comfortable than any other except the Softclix, which it replaced, because of its precise linear action.

I have been using the Multiclix as my usual lancing device (except when testing different ones) since Roche introduced it last summer. It is not only more comfortable but is also much more convenient than any other lancing device so far.

When you use this device, you don’t even see the lancets, much less handle them. Every six times that you test all you do is load a six-lancet drum.

The Multiclix retails for about $30. A package of 102 lancets (17 drums of six lancets per drum) retails for about $15.

The Owen Mumford Autolet Impression

This new lancing device has only been available since November. But it is already quite popular with customers of Advanced Diabetes Supply, according to President Tim Cady.

“We have put many of them out and have had good feedback so far,” Tim says. “In fact, we are going to have it private labeled for us with our name and toll free number on the device.”

Tim adds that the nice thing about this device is that it is compatible with any type of lancet other than the Accu-Chek Softclix or Multiclix. “Those two lancets require proprietary lancing devices that don’t allow consumers to shop for the best price on lancets,” he says.

The Autolet Impression retails for about $12. I prefer to use it with BD Ultra-Fine 33 (gauge) Lancets. A box of 100 of these lancets, the thinnest ones available, retails for about $9.

Tim also says the “comfort zone technology” that this device uses masks the pain of lancing. It does that by using eight raised dots on the cap of the device to soothe the nerve endings in the fingertip with a comfort impression before lancing.

This idea comes from a scientific principle called “the gate theory” that Ronald Melzack and Patrick D. Wall set forth in The Challenge of Pain (Penguin Global, second edition, 2004). They proposed that gates in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord that process and control sensory information control stimuli to the brain. When the brain receives non-painful stimuli, these comfortable stimuli pass through the gate, simultaneously closing another gate to prevent us from receiving painful stimuli. In practice, this works surprisingly well.

The Pelikan Sun
I have been waiting for the first electronically controlled lancing device for a long time. It was almost a year ago that I first tested the Pelikan Sun from Pelikan Technologies for my “Meter News” column in Diabetes Health magazine.

When the Pelikan Sun comes on the market, I know from my own experience that it will give us unprecedented comfort and much greater ease of use. I found it to be virtually painless whether I used my fingertips or my forearm. Even more conveniently than the Multiclix drums, the Pelikan Sun uses disposable disks of 50 sterile lancets.

Full disclosure: I wrote a white paper for Pelikan Technologies under contract. Pelikan Technologies plans to publish it next month.

My guess is that we will be able to buy the Pelikan Sun later this year. How much it will cost, however, is anyone’s guess.

Blood glucose meters aren’t the problem with testing our blood. It is the lancing device that has been the real problem. These new devices are the solution.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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