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Have you ever looked down and noticed the adhesive of your insulin infusion set or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is starting to come up around the edges? It’s an awful feeling, maybe you’re near the end of your set’s lifetime, or maybe you’ve only had it on for a day, but you can see it’s peeling off too soon, whether that’s from swimming, a sweaty workout, or a variety of other factors.
Your set’s and sensor’s life, however, can be extended! Introducing, device patches.
Device patches are intended to act as an extra adhesive to secure your sets and sensors for longer. Personally, I love using these patches during the summer when I am often around water or active in warm weather. They help make my sensors stay on for their full wear time, easing my worry about interruptions in my therapy and wasting expensive supplies.
With so many device patches to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose. Some are designed specifically for athletes, whereas others offer custom graphics to help everyday people with diabetes (PWDs) feel like they have some fashionable flair and self-expression over their medical gear.
Read on to learn more about eight great patches that our DiabetesMine team prefers.
What they are. Adhesive patches designed to secure insulin infusion sets and CGM sensors. They also sell “decorative skins” to protect the device faces of insulin pumps and glucose meters, all in a huge variety of designs that range from sports themes to nature, patriotic and leopard print, to the option to create your own featuring a photo of your favorite pet, for example.
Form factor. Made from vinyl adhesive and latex polymers, the patches easily form to the skin and last from 7 to 10 days.
Designed for use with. Insulin pumps — Tandem t:slim X2, Medtronic 670G/770G, Medtronic 5/7 Series, OmniPod/Omnipod DASH, Animas. CGMs — Dexcom G6, Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Eversense.
Backstory. Co-founder Emily Imblum, who lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D), was frustrated about trying to conceal her insulin pump. Working with her then-boyfriend and now-husband Scott Imblum, the pair decided to create a fun product that would help PWDs have more confidence and self-expression.
User feedback. Reviews are generally very positive. Alison Caggia, editorial director with the Diabetes Daily community, wrote in her review: “I’m getting more use out of my sensors, with less irritation. It puts a smile on my face to pick out a new patch each time. Diabetes is a drag, so you need the little things to make you smile.” And on the company’s website, one user wrote, “My daughter used to insist on only wearing her pod where it could be hidden under clothing on preschool days. Not anymore! Thanks to Pump Peelz, she is PROUD to show off her pod now! We love them!”
What’s unique. There are tons of different designs to choose from so you really express your style. You can also create your own design to feature on your patch.
Price Range. Generally $3.49 per patch, or $12.00 for a 4-pack.
Where to buy. Pump Peelz website.
What they are. Thick overpatches designed to extend the life of a CGM sensor on your skin.
Form factor. The patches are made with medical-quality hypoallergenic adhesive (96 percent cotton and 4 percent spandex) and feature a wave pattern form that forms to the skin and allows for elasticity and respiration. They come in either triangle or X-patch shape, in a choice of 10+ solid colors.
Designed for use with. CGMs only — Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom G4/G5/G6, Miao Miao 1 & 2, and Medtronic Enlite and Guardian CGM sensors.
Backstory. Pete Lomas, a T1D ocean swimmer, noticed that his CGM was often becoming loose/falling off with daily activities, such as yoga or swimming. In order to limit the stress and cost that it took to replace the sensors, he decided to create Not Just a Patch in order to extend CGM wear for himself and others.
User feedback. The original Not Just a Patch for Dexcom and Medtronic received an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Many reviewers reported that the patch was comfortable and durable, whereas some others noted that the patch started to peel after a few days of use.
What’s unique. The patches are specifically designed to be water-resistant, which makes them great for athletes or people who sweat a lot and have trouble keeping their sensors on. The patches also feature a “nonstick” back, meaning the patch does not stick to your actual sensor but only to your skin — allowing you to change the patch as often as you need to without pulling the sensor off. The company also offers a new barrier wipe called Skin Glu that can help your CGM sensor stick even better reduce skin reactions.
Price Range. Cost varies by product, but a 20-pack of most sensor covers cost about $24.99.
What they are. Secure tape patches to hold various insulin pump infusion sets and CGM sensors in place on the skin. They come in a great variety of colors and theme patterns, from solid color star shapes to cute animals and monsters to yoga and seasonal designs.
Form factor. Their trademarked “SUREGRIP” technology is a highly compact mesh fabric, water-resistant adhesive designed to offer ultimate staying power while remaining flexible and breathable.
Designed for use with. Insulin pumps: Omnipod, Medtronic 630 and 670G, the SOOIL Dana Diabecare pump, and the Tandem t:slim X2. CGMs — Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom G4/G5/G6, Eversense, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian, and NightRider BlueCon. You can also purchase their adhesive tape by the roll.
Backstory. Created by the Jordan family in Huntsville, Alabama, whose young son Griffin was diagnosed with T1D at 9 years old. “With the help of several NASA engineers, our first challenge was finding a way to keep tech secure for diabetics,” mom Stephanie Jordan told DiabetesMine, noting that they named the product after their son. A portion of proceeds are donated to diabetes nonprofits.
User feedback. Their oval G6 patch with ‘Power-X Formula Wrap Shape’ for Dexcom gets an average of 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. On the upside, many reviewers reported that they’re comfortable, durable, and fit very well around the pump or CGM shape. On the downside, some reviewers said their GrifGrips started fraying and peeling off in just a few days, especially after more than one shower.
What’s unique. They also sell “Tiny Grips” for the little ones that measure just 2.5″w X 3″h to accommodate kids’ bodies.
Price Range. Generally $24 for a 20-pack, which breaks down to $1.20 per patch.
What they are. Adhesive patches that come in a variety of designs and secure your pump infusion sets and CGM sensors.
Form factor. The Sugar Patch uses medical-grade hypoallergenic nonwoven spun-lace polyester tape that creates an easy-to-apply, breathable, lightweight, and comfortable patch. The company says it lasts for an extended wear of 5 to 15 days. For their patches that have a cut-out, they include the cut piece that can be applied to the top of the sensor or pod to complete the design look.
Designed for use with. CGMs — Dexcom G4/G5/G6, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian, Abbott FreeStyle Libre. Insulin Pumps — OmniPod, and universal infusion sets for tubed pumps.
Backstory. Founder Ashley Bagwell was diagnosed with T1D in 1983, and started using an insulin pump and CGM in 2015. She noticed that oftentimes her sets would prematurely fall off and was frustrated by how “medical” they looked, so she created an adhesive that would help extend the wear and add a fashionable element to diabetes management.
User feedback. The Sugar Patch has received 4.9 out of 5 stars out of 82 reviews on the company’s Facebook page. Many reviewers have noticed that they work for sensitive skin and help keep their sensors on for their entire lifespan. One recent reviewer writes: “I’ve been using these for 2 months now and OMG what a difference!! No more awful irritation, torn skin that would be painful for days. It holds my sensors in place, no issues in water or humidity.”
What’s unique. The Sugar Patch offers many different designs and combo packs, so you can mix and match your patches’ designs. Their best sellers include some unique mandala and mermaid scale patterns.
Price Range. Generally $2.25 or $2.75 per patch.
Where to buy. The Sugar Patch website.
What they are. Band-Aid-like adhesives designed to fit around and secure your insulin pump infusion set or CGM sensor.
Form factor. Round or oval and waterproof, Simpatches are made from latex-free, 100 percent acrylic adhesive that allows the patch to be breathable but also extremely durable. They come in beige, black, blue, and purple. For the Dexcom sensor, there’s an option of an adhesive with a strap to keep the sensor uber-secure.
Designed for use with. CGMs — Dexcom G4/G5/G6, Freestyle Libre, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian. Insulin Pumps — OmniPod, “universal” infusion set patches.
Backstory. Made by a company called Triad Co., Ltd, based in Seoul, Korea, that’s difficult to trace. But their patch products appear to be sold the world over.
User feedback. The Simpatch universal CGM patch received an average 4.5 out of 5 stars from 2,244 global ratings on Amazon, and it’s highlighted as “Amazon’s Choice.” Many reviewers noted that the patch lasted all 10 days of the sensor’s wear, and also liked that it was both easy to apply and take off afterwards. Some users said they experienced skin irritation or sensitivity around the patches.
What’s unique. Originally, Simpatch was just created for use with a Dexcom CGM, but has since expanded to use with other sensors. The company claims that “Our patch sticks longer, and with less irritation, than any other CGM sensor tape on the market.”
Price Range. $17.75 for a 25-pack.
What they are. Adhesive patches that are intended to keep your CGM or Omnipod sensor in place. The company boasts their patches are, “Like a Band-Aid for your sensor, but less irritating and more comfortable.”
Secure tape patches to hold various insulin pump infusion sets and CGM sensors in place on the skin. They come in a great variety of colors and theme patterns, from cute animals and monsters to yoga and seasonal designs.
Form factor. Made from a blend of cotton and spandex to ensure both flexibility and durability.
Designed for use with. CGMS — Dexcom G4, G5, G6, Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian. Insulin Pumps — Omnipod.
Backstory. Created in Sydney, Australia, by IBM Medical, the company’s founder wanted to create a way to simplify life with diabetes. They hope to provide stylish, discrete, and innovative gear that care support people with diabetes.
User feedback. The Dexcom G6 patch in black received 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Many reviewers said the patches are extremely comfortable and do not cause skin irritations, however some reviewers complained that the patches only lasted for a few days.
What’s unique. The company offers a full line of diabetes care and swag, including meter cases, foot care, and on-the-go needle disposals.
Price Range. $19.95 for a 24-pack on Amazon, and $24.95 for a 25-pack on the Glucology website.
Where to buy. Amazon or Glucology website.
What they are. Another line of patches designed to be worn over your insulin pump sets or CGM sensors to secure your sets and keep them safe. They are known for their fray-proof material and being sweat and waterproof. They also have a great variety of designs from dinosaurs to camo to sports and nature, and even funny sayings like, “love you latte” for coffee lovers.
Form factor. The patches feature a nonwoven material, so the edges will not fray, but also creates a flexible and breathable material that will form to your body. The adhesive is also hypoallergenic and do not use natural tree saps, resins, or rubbers. The company says they can be worn from 10 all the way up to 21 days without fraying or lifting.
Designed for use with. CGMs — Dexcom G5/G6, Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian. Insulin pumps — Omnipod, and universal infusion sets for tubed pumps. They also offer an option that does not have a precut hole for a device and can be used with virtually any sensor or set.
Backstory. Founder and CEO Meghan Sharkus started the company as a way to support a friend with diabetes and help build up confidence, but has since morphed into a multi-million-dollar company with a mission to improve the quality of life for diabetes device wearers everywhere.
User feedback. The Dexcom G6 5-pack (Dreamy Escapes Variety Pack) received an average 4.4-star rating out of 5 on Amazon. Many reviewers said that this is the only patch they have used that did not fray while using it, and a majority of customers said the patch stayed for the entire duration of their sensor lifespan. Some people, however, did not have as much luck and reported their patch falling off after a few days.
What’s unique. They also offer a line of “underpatches” designed to be worn between your sensor and skin to limit skin reactions from your device.
Price Range. Generally $4.99 for 1, or $19.99 for a 5-pack.
What they are. Custom design and featured-art adhesive patches to secure your CGM sensor or insulin pump site. Like the rest in this lineup, their mission is to ease the worry about your devices falling off prematurely and make you feel good while wearing it.
Form factor. Made from water-resistant 3M medical device tape, the patches can easily conform to your body and are breathable for the skin. Their designs are stylized graphics that include food, tribal designs, cartoon characters, sports, and more.
Designed for use with. CGMs — Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom G4/G5/G6, Medtronic Enlite and Guardian. Insulin Pumps — Omnipod, Medtronic, Animas. They also offer a “no cut” tape, which can be used with any sensor or infusion set.
Backstory. The founder, Jason Forrester, lives with T1D in Florida and loves water sports. Once he started using a CGM and insulin pump, he found them to be uncomfortable and they would often fall off. He started cutting out his own bandages and tape to put over sensors, but he found them ugly and they didn’t last. He created A Silly Patch to solve the problem of securing devices, and also allow people to be confident when wearing them.
User feedback. A Silly Patch received 5 stars out of 5 in over 30 reviews on their Facebook page. Many reviewers expressed how unique the patches are, and others commented on how durable they are. One reviewer wrote, “The patch has stayed on after working outside, pool, showering, and being caught in rain.”
What’s unique. The patches can be vibrant art pieces, including depictions of pop culture characters like The Incredible Hulk and Yoda. For diabetes tough guys, they even offer a skull and crossbones design and a Harley-Davidson Silly Patch.
Price Range. $1.89 per patch
Where to buy. A Silly Patch website.
There are a lot of device patch options to choose from and you’ll have to select which is best for your lifestyle. At the end of the day, device patches can help secure your CGM sensors, infusion sets, and OmniPods and ensure they last for the duration of their intended life. If you use a device patch, be sure to follow the company’s instructions for use and care in order to limit skin irritation and premature failure of one of the patches.