Saturday, May 26, 2012

FastClixing (a longish post about something I didn't know I cared about)

During college in the 90s, I volunteered to be in a diabetes product study group, and the topic of discussion was lancets. We showed up at a hotel conference room in Orange County for a discussion. I was sitting around a table with a bunch of other T1 diabetics (pretty neat) and we were giving our feedback about bloodletting. I distinctly remember two people in the study. One guy was a bit whiney and kept on saying that he didn't like the blood extraction process, because it hurt. He hated being poked. Another older gentleman, more of a cowboy, said he didn't care about anything, except, that it was easy to get blood out of his finger. I was just happy that we were being asked, but I didn't think what we wanted made much difference. These devices pierce your skin and make you bleed, and that's just what they do. I was more on the side of the cowboy, and didn't want to have to milk my finger too much to get a drop of blood out of it.

It wasn't too much longer that we saw varied depth, alternative site, lancing devices, and even thinner lancets come onto the market. I guess they heard our whines.

So, in recent years I've never really thought about my lancing device... I just used it. Whichever one I had... I used whichever one came with the meter, or migrated from another meter case. Like many people with diabetes, I change my lancets maybe once a month, when it seems to hurt more than usual. I have never had an infection on a test site on a finger. Have you?

Enter FastClix... my new meter came with a FastClix lancing device (lancer?). I mentioned in a previous post that loading the lancets and starting to use it was different. I think it is well designed and functions well, so I will highlight a few things I like about it.

Six lancet drum
It seems like a rotating drum of 6 lancets like that would be massive and bulky, but they've squeezed 6 pieces of thin, skin piercing tips into a small package. It is only barely larger than your normal lancet, and contains 6 fresh stiletto type lancets that pop up when needed. Even better, they load in and out of your device without exposed points ever being seen or touched. Clever.

Lancet changes
To change tips you slide a lever across, and, voila, you have a new lancet installed. So, if you continue to change them once a month, you might find yourself only thinking about replenishing lancets a couple times a year. Then again, since it's not a pain anymore, you might do it more often. I've already switched to my second one, and I've only been using the thing for a week. 

Lancing Depth Options
It has 11 depth options (shown as .5-5.5). The instructions suggest that you start with 2 if you have "soft skin". Since I don't really use the pads of my fingers as much, I qualify as a soft skinned fellow. I was using the 1.5 setting and getting plenty of juice.

Something about the way it touches your finger is gentler and faster than other lancing devices. It doesn't have the same type of blunt force that my previous lancing devices have had. It's hard to describe, but I've always felt the device throwing it's weight around inside the chassis and my finger was always receiving that tiny slam.

This is the sneaky part. I thought any method for making a hole in your finger that would bleed sufficiently would pretty much trigger the same pain receptors. Not true. I was shocked the first couple of times I used it, I barely felt the thing graze my skin and it made a nice bleeding hole. It was like witchcraft.  Every time I used it I would mentally say, "Cool!"

There are two design points that I want to compliment the FastClix engineers on.
  • First, the raised dot where the lancet needle emerges. You can take that little nub and place it against your finger, and by feel, you can have the hole show up exactly where you want it. Sometimes in the past I would try to lance a certain area of my finger and then be surprised to see the blood come out 1/8 inch away from the expected spot. Kind of like drawing on a touch screen device, you can't see what you are doing because your finger is in the way. 
  • Next, you both cock and fire the device with one pressing motion. It's pretty cool. If you've ever pressed the "go" button on another lancing device and had it just sit there, you know it's annoying to have 2 tasks to complete to get your drop of blood. For instance, if you are driving, stopped at a stop-light, and you test... one extra step is just kind of annoying.  I never really thought it was too bad, until I found out that it could be better. It's better.
That's it. I'm starting to think that different lancing devices can make the invasive act of blood sampling much better. Not, a life-changing deal, just a tiny quality of life bump up.


  1. Well. I'm going to get one now for sure! Little things that diabetics use all the time are kind of like big things.

    1. I guess I have been in a time-warp because my lancing device has been virtually the same for probably 10+ years. This one was clearly different. Still pokes your finger with a needle though...

  2. Have you used the multiclix/ can you compare it to that?

    1. I haven't used it, but I believe Will DuBois just reviewed the Fastclix in comparison to the Multiclix at DiabetesMine.
      From a few snippets I have come across, the Fastclix is an improved generation of the Multiclix.