Tandem vs Medtronic

Hi, my 5-year-old is currently using the Omnipod and Dexcom G6. However, her omnipod is going bad more often, even if she is just sitting. I’m wasting so much insulin every time I have to replace her pod before the 3 days, and I don’t like that.
Anyway, now that she is going to school, I want to have a more reliable pump. I am leaning toward tandem since it syncs with Dexcom G6, but I would like to know more advantages and have insights on Medtronic’s device before making the switch.

Hi @Susane and welcome to Type One Nation. Pumps are pumps and there is very little actual measurable differences comparing the Medtronic and the Tandem. Since you already have G6 the logical (IMO) choice is Tandem so you can - right out of the box, use IQ or CIQ (pump basal/ loop control). Dexcom doesn’t work that way with Medtronic you would have to switch to the Medtronic sensor. There are tons of people very happy with Dexcom and Tandem. Both good companies. Cheers and good luck :four_leaf_clover:

Hi @Susane and welcome to the forum. There are lots of discussions here on Tandem compared to Dexcom, and their relative CGMs. Some here have used both and can give direct comparison based on experience, while many speak to personal experience with the one they use. I encourage you of course do to your own reading and research - here and elsewhere - if you haven’t already started. I’ll leave you to read and draw your own conclusions from the forum comments - you can search for the terms you like.
I thought I had read something about a minimum amount of insulin to fill Tandem cartridges - not counting what goes into the tubing it’s about 90 units. I use 30-some per day so that’s fine for me but your 5 year old may well use less siphoning out unused insulin for reuse probably is not recommended (there’s probably documentation somewhere). I don’t know the minimum for Medtronic.
This idea may go over like a lead balloon but to throw it into the mix: while insulin pumps are considered the way to go, injections are still an option. A Dexcom or Freestyle Libre CGM can be used as a standalone and people managed on shots for years - in my case decades - before pumps were available. The idea of a child taking needles is painful for parents, but I started on injections at age 3, when needle gauges were much larger than they are now and I - we - got used to it. A loop feature is wonderful and can provide greater control but it’s not the only way to go - in fact there are some people who do better on injections, although that may not be typical.
As you are considering what to do for your son, don’t forget about injections.

Hi @wadawabbit, thank you for your feedback. We started with injections and moved to the Omnipod insulin pump. My daughter is doing much better now that she is on the pump. Right now, I am just trying to find the best option for her on insulin pumps. For the Omnipod, I put 100U on the pump every 3 days, and we don’t use it all, but that’s the minimum. My concern with the Omnipod is that if something happens and the pod goes bad, I will lose all that insulin and replace it for 100U extra on the new pod.
You mentioned Tandem might need 90 units, but how often do you have to change the cartridge?

My doctor has me change every 3 days. In the past I have worn up to a week but I believe 3 days (maybe 4) is recommended to avoid degradation of the insulin and developing scar tissue. While I didn’t notice any issues, things that work for me may not work as well for others so I recommend going with doctor/manufacturer recommendations.

We’ve been there! First, know that Omnipod will replace your pod anytime it goes bad early, and they’ll pay you for the insulin you lost, too, based on whatever your out-of-pocket cost is.

Also, your doctor can update your child’s prescription so will always have enough insulin, even if you end up losing some. So, for example, instead of writing for 30 units per day, maybe the dr. writes for 40 units per day (just making up numbers, but you get the idea). That way, when you have to throw out a pod, you still have enough insulin in the house.

As a side note, I’ve been told some people actually do go into the pod and retrieve the insulin. Of course you’re not supposed to do this, so please talk to your doctor about it before you do!

@srozelle Thank you for your feedback. I will try to stick with the Omnipod for a little more time. I really love that I don’t have to deal with the tube or removing the pump to shower.

Whatever is best for her is of course the right thing — unfortunately, sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what that is. :confused: Here’s hoping that whatever it is that was going wrong stops happening!

Speaking of which, does it seem like they were going bad more often when she uses certain locations on her body, or after a certain amount of time, or during certain activities, or anything like that?

She only holds them very well on her thigh. I tried her belly and on her arm, but they are uncomfortable for her. They always stopped working when she is just sitting randomly.

Frustrating, I’m sure! Have you already tried asking an Omnipod rep, diabetes educator, or endo to see if they can help you figure it out?

FWIW, we had far more issues with Tandem than with Omnipod, but everyone’s body is different, and there really is no telling until you try. It’s just a matter of what works best for your daughter.

I use both Omnipod and Dexcom as well. Previously I had also been having issues with random pod failures so my doctor switched me from Humalog to Novalog and it seemed to fix the issue. It might be worth talking to your doctor about the type of insulin you are using. Good luck!

Thank you Mollie, this is good to know for future reference. We are using Novolog. If this continue, I will try to talk with the Omnipod provider.

Hi Susane,
I was on the Medtronic pump for over 20 years and just switched in January to Tandem. Medtronic is a fine pump, but it doesn’t pair with the Dexcom. Since your daughter is on the Dexcom G6 system, if you do decide to switch, the Tandem would definitely be my choice, since it works seamlessly with the Dexcom. I love seeing everything (blood glucose, graph, amount of insulin, etc.) all on one screen! Previously (for the last 4 years), I have had the dexcom receiver and the Medtronic pump, side by side–not ideal, but not horrible, either. A while ago I did a test of the Medtronic CGM side by side with Dexcom for 3 weeks (I wore both!), and Dexcom was hands down the most accurate. So whatever you decide, I’d strongly recommend sticking with Dexcom! By the way, I know that many recommend changing insulin in the reservoir every 3 days, but I have only found insulin degradation at 5 or more days, so personally I’m comfortable with changing the insulin cartridge every 4 days. Of course, your experience may be different.
Todd (type 1 diabetic for 56 years)

I have 2 kids with T1D for 4.5 years. We did a Medtronic free trial initially, and didn’t like it. VERY happy with Dexcom and Omnipod, despite the occasional pod failures. Someone mentioned retrieving insulin. We do this all the time, with no issues. We also have used Novalog, Fiasp, and Humalog U200 pens. It’s never a bad idea to check with Endo on stuff, but they are doctors, not scientists - there is a difference. They don’t always know everything about the technology. In fact, I am typically informing THEM of stuff, like when Fiasp became available, and the current status of the TWO different Omnipod/Dexcom closed loop systems - the Tidepool Loop app that is currently awaiting FDA approval, and the Omnipod 5 (aka Horizon) which is a joined system with the 2 devices, still finishing up final trials. Stay patient and don’t make hasty decisions. Do your research. Facebook also had an Omnipod user group, which is handy. Good luck!


I have Medtronic, and I find it easy to work with a complete system. With that said, I would talk to the doctor, nurse, but would also recommend an Omnipod trainer/representative before making any changes; check with their customer/technical services! They want you to continue using their product, and they should be willing to help.

100%. Our experience with Omnipod’s customer service in general, and with our rep, in particular, has been truly outstanding. Our rep has T1D herself and uses the product, in addition to being a warm, caring, and responsive human being.

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