Nobody ever dared to claim that drawing a drop of blood to check our blood sugar levels could be gentle. Until now.
A new company named Genteel has just started shipping its "gentle lancing instrument." The box that it comes in says right on it that it give us "blood testing without pain"
For many of us who have diabetes using a blood glucose meter and lancing device is the most painful thing we have to do. And most of us perform this onerous chore several times a day.
It’s no wonder that after decades of disappointment many of us keep hoping for a painless non-invasive meter to appear. People still write me regularly to ask where they can buy a GlucoWatch, even though it hasn’t been sold for years and the company that made it is out of business. Besides, it wasn’t painless in practice.
We have dozens of blood glucose meters to chose from. But surprisingly we have never had a choice of many lancing instruments.
Until now the best lancing device by far was the Pelikan Sun. But it was so expensive between $200 and $300, depending on when you bought it that like the GlucoWatch, it’s no longer available and the company that made it is out of business.
Aside from the discontinued Pelikan Sun, until Genteel’s Gentle Lancing Instrument became available a few days ago I don’t think that we had anything better to lance our fingers with than the Accu-Chek Multiclix. You can get one for as little as $27.45. But in my experience it’s hardly painless.
Genteel’s new device is as close to painless as I could ever hope for. I have used it for a few days now after receiving a complimentary unit for testing from the company. Even though the Pelikan Sun stopped being available several years ago, I was able to compare the "ouch factor" since I still have a small stash of the proprietary lancets that I have to use with the Pelikan Sun. Comparing the two devices, I was surprised to find that I prefer the Genteel instrument.
Unlike the Pelikan Sun, with the Genteel instrument you use standard lancets. It is designed to accommodate all FDA-approved square shaft lancets. I happened to have two brands of them on hand, one that came with a FreeStyle meter kit from Abbott, and the other, tiniBoy ultra-thin lancets.
Even though the tiniBoy lancets are an incredibly thin 36 gauge and so short that they are almost invisible, they gave me a usable drop of blood at a lower setting on the Genteel than the Abbott lancets did. A choice of six settings is one of the Genteel’s features.
I customized my Genteel when I chose the one of the six contact tips of varying thicknesses that is right for my fingers. This let me draw blood from only the top layer of the capillary blood supply, but not so deep as to reach the nerves, the source of pain when we use a lancet.
Before I even released the lancet, an activation button on the Genteel transmitted a calming vibration that blocked any pain signals to the brain. All I felt was a light tap on my finger or on my arm when I used it on an alternative testing site.
The Genteel is a vacuum device. Its patented vacuum technology also works to reduce or eliminate pain while helping the device to consistently make the same size blood draw.
The Genteel Lancing Instrument is available now on the company’s website, MyGenteel.com. The Genteel will retail for $129 with a 120-day money-back guarantee and a 5-year limited warranty. But the company is offering a discounted price of $99 until the end of June.
While this is much less than the $300 I paid for a Pelikan Sun lancing device, it’s still more than an Accu-Chek Multiclix or one of the basic devices that come in the box with our blood glucose meter.
A lot of money? No, as I once wrote about the even steeper price of a Pelikan Sun. You just can’t put a price on your pain.
David Mendosa is a journalist who learned in 1994 that he has type 2 diabetes, which he now writes about exclusively. He has written thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, current A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 keep his diabetes in remission without any drugs. He can be found on Twitter @davidmendosa and on Facebook at David Mendosa.