Traveling in Europe, possible Pump issues

I have traveled many times abroad with an insulin pump and have never had problems with my pump, but am now wondering if any of you have ever had these issues:

  1. Has your pump ever stopped working and you had to go on to syringes? (This has never happened to me in 24 years on the pump.)
  2. Have you ever had issues with the G7 app not working and having to reload it on your phone? This is probably my biggest concern. (I just started on the G7 and found out you can’t download it again in Europe. )
  3. Can you get insulin in Europe with a prescription from US doctor or even without a prescription?
  4. If you use a Tandem SlimX, have you had any issues with obtaining or returning a loaner pump? If you had to use the Loaner Pump did you have any issues with setting it up or returning it back if used?

Any comments about traveling abroad and experiences regarding these issues would be welcomed.

I can only answer question #1 - I have occasionally switched to injections - sometimes people wait a pump break or they suspect the pump has an issue. My doctor gave me a scrip for basal pens and injections for meals, and instructions on how much to take and when - when going back on the pump especially you need to account for the duratiin time of the basal insulin you injected so you don’t overlap.
Regarding downloading software - have you tried I using a VPN? It might enable you to access American software while you’re traveling - I don’t know, just thought I would suggest it.

Mary @mkenni, I haven’t traveled to Europe yet I can answer both questions #1 and #2 directly and offer information for #3.

Pump failure: I’ve had three pumps malfunction while in good old US of A and needed replacement; two MiniMed [Medtronic products] and one Tandem. After about six weeks of using the G7 app, an issue occurred [in USA] that required an app uninstall and reinstall. As a traveler you know how to set your phone sim cards to allow effective phone use while abroad.

The USA is one of the few countries that require a written doctor’s order for purchasing and using insulin. If you are unable to carry with you sufficient insulin, I suggest you check ahead of traveling and know if your insulin formulation [or acceptable substitute] will be available for purchase.

Keep in mind the adage: “If something can go wrong, it WILL go wrong”

I haven’t heard of any issues with loaner pumps through Tandem.

hi @mkenni I travel to Europe every 6 weeks or so. In fact I am flying to Ireland on Tuesday. I’ve flown dozens of times to Ireland, England, Wales, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Singapore, China, and India. In the last 15 years of travel: no, I have never had a pump fail. Yes I bring Lantus and syringes. Going off my pump is easy enough, just start with Lantus equal, roughly, to about my total basal. corrections and meal bolus are the same as with the pump on.

G6 and G7 work fine. I don’t typically upload to Clarity when I am not on my home network, but the receiver in my phone and pump both use Bluetooth to receive Dexcom blood suagr data so it would give me readings (technically) even in space. Since I have my phone AND my pump, I dont need another backup for Dexcom. I could always consider a real Dexcom receiver if I only had one device to read Dexcom.

Yes I can get medicine in Europe. I honestly do not know how because I never had to but I know there’s a way through my insurance company - thanks for the tip I may look into that. Ive always just brought plenty with me. I am pretty sure that after verification I might be able to buy medicine and then be reimbursed.

I have never asked for a backup from Tandem. When I had my Medtronic pump I did acquire a 2nd backup pump and brought it with me as a secondary but never used it. Now I keep one Medtronic (as backup for my Tandem) and I do have infusion sets for my old pump but I don’t take it with me since I take the lantus and syringes. No I would not go on shots just because I was flying, I have always brought my pump and IF it fails, THEN I would use the shots.

Put everything important in carry on and not in checked baggage. Bring more supplies than you need (I typically bring almost double the supplies I would need). Know where the hospitals are and try to have a backup plan.

check out Travelers - United States Department of State it has Travel Resources from the State Department.

Europe is just like the states they have everything. I have very little anxiety about medicine but I do have primary and backup for critical systems. Flying is always tough Packing is tough, lines and waiting are not fun. I hope you are going someplace nice and for fun, but if you fly for work it can still be rewarding - either way I wish you a safe journey.

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Again(?) I haven’t been to Europe but your questuon roused my curiosity so I did a little hunting and found the following link: Traveling Abroad with Medicine | Travelers' Health | CDC

It may not answer your questuon exactly but what I took from it was,

  1. take a prescription with you, and
  2. contact the embassy where you’re traveling - it sounds like doing so in advance could save you some trouble if anything should happen.

Hope you’re okay!

Yes- you can get insulin in Europe with a prescription from an American doctor. I always take a doctors prescription with me for insulin. No hospital in Europe is going to turn you away without insulin if you’re T1D and can prove it- even if they do charge you for it. I was able to get a meter and test strips and lancets in Spain without a prescription, but I’ve never tried to get insulin without a prescription so I’m not sure. Heads up- if you go to local pharmacy for insulin you may not be able to get your preferred type and you might have to wait 24 hours, depending on where you are. Most pharmacies don’t carry extra diabetes supplies so you might have to wait a day or so for them to order it. But if you’re really in a tight spot, go to a hospital.
Just take extra insulin and you’ll be fine.

I’ve never used a loaner pump and have never had issues with my pump. If you’ve got an old tandem pump that still works you could take that with you as a back up (that’s my plan for this summer)
In the past I’ve always brought insulin pens and needles. I’ve gone back to shots multiple times (“pump break”) not because of my pump malfunctioning but because of to the water activities I was doing. It’s always gone just fine for me, even if my control was a little wacky the first few days on shots. You can find articles and other threads on the forum about switching from pump back to mdi, and your endo should be able to give you some guidelines/advice.

I’ve been able to redownload the G6 app in Europe. I don’t know why you would’nt be able to redownload the G7. If you’re worried about app issues you could consider taking a G7 PDM with you as backup. You can also see your blood sugars on your pump, so while it would definitely be inconvenient to loose access to your blood sugars on your phone it’s not the end of the world.

Very early on in “pump life” I disposed on my old pump (I don’t remember how) when I got my new one. Now when my warranty runs out and I get my new pump I keep the old as a backup (hey - it’s still working so why not?). If it’s been dormant for a while it would be good to charge it up or put in batteries prior to your trip to make sure it’s okay.

Lise @6yGodsGr, you made everyone aware of some very important facts, especially the need for each of us to be ready to drop the infusion pump and be able to maintain BGL within range with simple injections.

But note, both the Dexcom G& Receiver and the t-Slim infusion device are considered “Primary Receiver” so only one or the other can connect to G7 sensor.