Filling pod with insulin pen


We are very new to omnipod 5. My sister still uses insulin pens. We believe her appointment to actually put the pod on, is coming up. Will she be able to temporarily fill up her omnipod with an insulin pen? Or do we need to call her doctor and ask for a prescription for small insulin vials? They didn’t give us much information about that.

Thank you!

Yes! You can get use a pen or a vial for filling the Omnipod.

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Yes., Alexa @arodric5002 you can use a pen to fill an OmniPod, BUT use only the Rapid-Acting insulin pen - not the pen for background insulin.
Do call her doctor and have a prescription sent for vials - much more cost-effective than the pens.

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Do hold onto her unused pens - they’re good to have in case she ever wants to take a pump break, or add backup just in case they’re needed. My doctor wrote me a rx for pens for basal and bolus insulin in case I ever wanted or needed it. She may have had to give an explanation to my insurance but it went through, along with my vial.

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A few additional ideas about Dorie’s advice: besides backup insulin (pump failure) or break from pump, I keep shots around in case I have any doubt if a site is bad (crimped cannula, or just a place where my body won’t absorb insulin for some reason). A huge bonus of insulin pens (in addition to the dial-a-dose convenience) is that a traditional syringe needle is made more dull each time the needle goes through the rubber (septum) on the insulin bottle. None of my shots with traditional syringe/ needle was ever as painless as the inulin pen whose needle never needed to pass through the rubber septum. Multiply that dulling effect by however many times you may choose to re-use a syringe…

I figure if I’m having a bad time with my pump or my site (naturally resulting in awfully high sugars) the least I can do is make my injections as comfortable as possible.

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Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. We will definitely be making sure to be able to have both prescriptions. @ski_phreak thanks for your advice. I think insulin shots with a pen can already be painful for my sister. I can’t imagine making it even worse for her, by not having insulin pens. We will have to see what insurance decides to do. They can be kind of a pain about certain things.

One more question, would you guys say that it’s common for a few pods to fail during a month, for example? Or would you guys say, pods don’t typically fail on you frequently and randomly stop delivering insulin?I want to get an idea.

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I’ve had the occasional pod failure - for unknown reasons the controller suddenly stopped connecting with the pod and I had to stay a new one. Insulet will send a replacement each time.
PS - some people use ice to numb the area prior to taking a shot, and I think there are numbing agents you can buy as well - your pharmacist can help you find one.

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@arodric5002 Similar to @wadawabbit I’ve had a few pods fail but I can’t recall the last time. It was never a few in a “month;” more like 3-4 pods over 3-5 months. I can’t account for any difference other than they seemed to be in the first few months of use (newbie-itis?). Some people seem to have more problems than others and I can’t help but think its environmental (heat, humidity, activity, etc.). In addition, body chemistry differences seem to play a part (skin oils, perspiration, etc.,) and sensitivities to the adhesive used with the pods…some people’s body chemistry either isn’t “sticky” or reacts adversely to it. Except for one particular pod on my thigh (which left a welt on removal and my skin remained red with a perfect outline of the pod for over three months, surprisingly no pain), I’ve had no problems with pods at all except when I recently tried Lyumjev in them which caused discomfort/lite pain, bleeding around the cannula, and bruising on removal at every cannula site). I do experience a slightly raised bump where the cannula “window” is, but that goes away within a few hours of removal; I chock that up to increased fluid pressure under the skin due to insulin injection/profusion.

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There will be occasional issues no matter what pump you choose. And whereas on injections you would have a second source of insulin running in the background long-acting injection) to provide some coverage - with a pump you don’t have that. So the thing to remember us to catch it quickly to avoid going high or staying there for long.
With other pumps you might pre-load a spare cartridge to take with you but with the Omnipod you must start a new pod within an hour of doing, so be sure to carry insulin with you. I found this on Etsy dot com - you customize your own colors.

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Congrats on your move to continous infusion (pumping/podding). I think you’ll really appreciate the advantages.

PROS: 1) Exact hourly control of basal rates. This simplifies trying to match your increased insulin needs (dawn phenomena, variable meal size/times, unplanned change in activity level) that multiple injections of long+short-lasting insulin just can’t cope with.
2) Push-button convenience to take insulin. (Also, discretion is important to some who are shy about their diabetes. )
3) Less scar tissue with 1 site every 3 days (usually) rather than 2-6 shots per day.
4) The integration of CGM data with auto-adjusted basal is very close to having a “bionic pancreas”. Both Tandem and OmniPod have excellent automatic adjustment in their latest firmware. These still require that you figure out your meal carbs. Medtronic’s closed loop comes even closer, since all you need to tell the pump is “I’m eating” and the firmware takes care of the meal, too. (Reports online suggest that is not as easy to stay in “auto mode” for this to work, however. For the month that I used the 630, I was not impressed by the Medtronic CGM compared to any of my Dexcoms or the discontinued Abbot Navigator.) BetaBionics (not quite on the market yet) looks even more promising, with a simple setup, and the only input needed being “I’m eating a smaller/larger/average meal.” I can’t wait to see this pump in the wild!

Cons: 1) COST $$€¥££££$$ of pump and the ongoing supplies.
2) Initial setup of any pump is more complicated than a single shot.
3) Site-change day is more hassle than any single shot (but only happens every 3rd day, usually.)
4) The above hassles & complexity get really annoying when a site or pump fails unexpectedly, and usually at the worst possible time.


  1. Clean the site 2x with alcohol, vigorously swabbing from the centre outward in a spiral. I can feel the difference on my skin surface the 2nd time after pushing the skin’s oil away from my site. (This method was taught when I started pumping in 1993, and I’ve never had adhesion problems, even when spending days in water parks…)
  2. Carry a just-in-case syringe. It doesn’t take nearly the space of a spare pod, and you should always have that + some insulin, anyway.
  3. Use alcohol to remove the pod if the adhesion is TOO good and it’s time to replace.
  4. My biggest hassle with podding (2nd generation) used to be occasionally forgetting to bring my PDM. This bulky controller (see picture below) is one of 2 reasons that I switched back to pumps-with-tubing after 4+ years of podding. (The other reason was that OmniPod wasn’t innovating as much as the “wired” pumps…) Integrating the controller into a cell phone app fixed the bulky controller issue, as well as my tendency to forget to bring it along when dining out.

Finally, my Pod experience is very simular to Tom’s: very few failed Pods and even fewer torn off accidentally in nearly a decade of using gen2 and my new gen5s. I too get a raised bump in the “triangle” around the cannula (I call it a Pod-hickey) which is fine in less than an hour (usually minutes) without a mark or bruise. My theory is that the full cartridge within the pod displaces 200 units of liquid volume BUT the pod is so airtight that the displacement pressure pulls whatever it can into the only opening on the bottom of the Pod. Ergo, your skin gets pulled into the “triangle” around the cannula = Pod-hickey.

I never had anything like Tom’s red outline–how strange! But one time I did get a chemical-burn that I attribute to residue from Nair exfoliant interacting with the adhesive on the Pod tape. It only ever happened once, and this hirsute Scandahoovian uses a lot of Nair in little Dexcom- and Pod-sized areas! (The “burn” resolved to light scabs that healed the same as any other surface abrasion.) In hind- sight, that Pod started feeling uncomfortable after a day and I shouldn’t have been so lazy/miserly about changing the Pod sooner.

The only cause that I can associate with any pod failure (either generation) seemed to be electro-static. I know for a fact that the static sparks while folding a flannel sheet caused one Pod to freak out. It’s happened very rarely, mostly on pairing the Pod to the controller (app) during setup, and if I had to guess, I think the failures I’ve seen have been 2 per year and probably less.

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Thank you all for your reply’s and advice. It is very much appreciated!! My sister started a pod two days ago. With a omnipod rep, we filled it with saline water. This week, we actually visit with her endo team where she will actually use the pump with insulin. I do have one question, when the pump needs to be changed what does it do? Does it start going off until you change it? Do you immediately have to change it? I know that you would have to change it soon, so the insulin keep going. But does it have to be changed like on the spot, right away? I once recall seeing a video of a girl complaining about her pump going off, until she changed it. So that’s what I’m wondering. Since my sister does go to school.

It lets you know what time it will run out starting a few hours before the expiration time - based on when it was started 3 days earlier. You can also set a Low Pod Insulin alert to go offf when the pod reaches a certain number of units, even if it’s before the expiration time: that is helpful if I have filed my pod with less insulin than will last a full 3 days. Mine is set to sound when I reach the last 10 but you can choose the amount. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pod empty out on me - 10 units lasts me a while but I typically start a new one when I geAl that alert so I don’t lose track of time. And if course you can change earlier if you like: she might want to start a new pod the evening before hearts is due to expire during the school day.

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PS - I just got an alert this morning which reminded me - am alert will repeat until you acknowledge it : simply turning on the controller didn’t do it - you have to click on the notification symbol at the top :bell:.
A suggestion: familiarize yourself with how to silence a “screaming pod.” You may never get one but it happens if a pod is not successfully deactivated. You can toss it in the freezer, but if that’s not an option there’s a tiny little hole to shut it off. Next time your sister is ready to toss a used pod she should look for it:
At the top center of the pod there’s a gold ring. Next to the gold ring is the hole you need to punch through to silence the pod - you’ll need something very small like paper clip or a pushpin.

If she ever gets a pod that doesn’t deactivate properly I suggest she take it home to toss out later. I’ll link my funny post about a problem pod I tossed out at my office🤣. I can laugh about it now…
Seriously though, I don’t want to worry you. I’ve been using Omnipod5 for a year and have only had a couple of screaming pods but it’s just good to know in advance what to do.

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Thank you so much for your reply!!! That’s what I was so confused about. Now I know that “screaming pods” are more of an error, and not something we should expect every time we change the pod . I was worried my sister would be in school, and the pod would just start screaming at her. I’ll definitely look into how to deactivate one if it’s being a pain. I know this whole thing for her is already a huge step, don’t want to embarrass her or anything.

Ps. I would love to read the office, omnipod situation. I am so sorry it happened!

Again thanks a lot!

My pleasure! These are from last year - the one at works is in italics. Thankfully I had shown my coworkers my pod and told them what it was so they weren’t too worked up about it (whew!).

Hi friends and happy Thanksgiving! I was sleeping comfortably when my hubby woke me up to let me know one of my pods was sounding off. I have him the controller expecting it to turn it off but - not. He brought them back upstairs and I took a few minutes to find a pushoin which I inserted according to instructions I had seen in A YouTube video - and thankfully, they worked.
I’ve only had 3 screaming pods, the first of which started demanding attention after hours. My coworkers got to the office before me and it didn’t take long to find the source - in the trash can. They took it out to the dumpster and I was truly afraid someone might hear it and call the big squad. Took my controller out to the dumpster with me and thankfully it silenced it - no need to go dumpster diving! Since then I have always brought my pods home to discard.
After this most recent one I did wonder if you can’t simply drown the thing🤔 - has anybody tried? I get the need for alerts - I really do - but once you’ve removed it, what’s the point?

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Hi again. If you’re sister is concerned about sound have her check out Activity mode. The controller makes a noise when you turn it on (you can control that with the volume button) and the pod itself makes a noise when activity mode is completed. That one you can’t adjust so she should just know what to expect.

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We can’t seem to find any videos on this. When you have to change your Dexcom sensor, what do you do with your pod? Put it in manual mode? Does the pod automatically connect to the new sensor?


While the sensor is warming up the system will go into Limited Auto mode. Once the warmup is finished a message will appear on the controller letting you know, and asking if you want to return to full auto I wanted to copy the text from the manual that explains the difference but wasn’t able to. If you have your manual it’s section 21.5.
BTW - you do not need to start a new pod when you change your sensor.
And while the sensor is warming up you will get alerts about missed sensor readings.

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Hi @arodric5002 . How long until the big day? I’m excited for you - technically for your sister (and you’re a terrific sister by the way!).
Omnipod has great adhesive as far as I’m concerned but if she’s concerned about one getting knocked off in gym or while swimming the are Simpatches and similar products she can try. I get mine from Amazon (there are a few colors to choose from).

I find removing the pod can be painful so I use underpatches that leave only the edge exposed. I found them on Etsy:

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Thank you so much! It’s been a rollercoaster. My sister started her pod last Tuesday. So far she has only changed it once. We have been told it will be some time before we figure out what numbers work best. So far she has been having a lot of high blood glucose numbers. We are going to reach out to her endo on Monday. So hopefully we can get better adjustments. My sister has been very stressed about the situation, but we know it will be a long process to figure out what is best.

One concern that I have is she says the site where the pod is hurts. She says the area hurts even without touching it. So she just told us she is in constant pain. Is this normal? Is she just not used to it?

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