Warning over diabetes DIY technology

Diabetes Ireland concerned about use
  • Deborah Condon

The national diabetes charity, Diabetes Ireland, has expressed concern about the use of so-called DIY (do it yourself) technology by some people with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes Ireland understands that there are a small number of people with type 1 diabetes in Ireland who are using DIY technology to help manage their condition.

These technologies are not commercially available and are 'built' by individuals with diabetes for their own use. They have not been approved for use by regulatory bodies as they have not undergone the required patient safety studies. As a result, people use them at their own risk.

Concerns were raised after a serious adverse event was reported in the US. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as a result of a patient's use of an illegally marketed continuous glucose monitoring system, along with an unauthorised automated insulin dosing system, an insulin overdose occurred that required medical attention.

As a result, the FDA has warned patients and healthcare professionals of the risks associated with the use of unapproved or unauthorised devices for diabetes management, including continuous glucose monitoring systems, insulin pumps and automated insulin dosing systems.

The FDA emphasised that the use of unapproved or unauthorised devices could result in inaccurate blood glucose measurements or unsafe insulin dosing, which could lead to injury requiring medical intervention, or even death.

Diabetes Ireland said that it is aware that a small number of type 1 patients in Ireland are using closed-loop systems based on DIY technology to help manage their condition.

According to Diabetes Ireland health promotion and research manager, Dr Anna Clarke, the charity respects the rights of individual people with type 1 diabetes to choose how they manage their condition and to avail of treatments they believe best fit their needs.

"However, Diabetes Ireland has concerns about the use and safety of diabetes DIY technology systems as these products are not regulated or approved and their use may carry serious risks to those using them. Diabetes Ireland does not endorse these DIY technologies as they are not approved technologies and are highly experimental," she commented.

She pointed out that any person using DIY technology does so at their own risk.

In addition, the charity recognises that for healthcare professionals caring for people with type 1 diabetes, the emergence of unapproved DIY technologies poses major concerns, including medico-legal risks, which require further consideration and guidance for those working in Ireland.

"Following on from the reported patient adverse event, Diabetes Ireland urges anyone using or considering using diabetes DIY technology to speak to and consult with their diabetes team about its use," Dr Clarke added.

Anyone with any queries on this or any other diabetes-related issue can contact Diabetes Ireland on (01) 842 8118 or click here.


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