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Pelikan Sun Electronic Lancing Device

Jul 1, 2008

Christopher Liu, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, University of Florida, has been using the Pelikan Sun lancing device for the past few weeks and although it is big, bulky and costly, he had some good reasons why your patients might want one. Read his review of this device by clicking here and learn more about it by checking out this week’s new product.

Pelikan Sun Electronic Lancing Device
From Pelikan Technologies
Review by Christopher Liu, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, University of Florida

As an endocrinology intern with the editor, Dave Joffe, I have had to live like a type 1 diabetes patient for the past 7 weeks. Most days I have to check my glucose 6-8 times a day.

I have been using the Pelikan Sun electronic lancing device for about a month now and my overall impression of the device is very positive. I had previously been using a mechanical lancing device on my palms to spare my fingers the dreaded pricks and lingering tenderness of finger sticks. With the Pelikan Sun finger sticks have become almost entirely painless, and I easily prefer using this lancet device over palm alternate site testing with mechanical lancet devices.

The Pelikan Sun from Pelikan Technologies is slightly larger than a deck of playing cards and can easily be mistaken for an mp3 player. There are three buttons on the face of the device and a slide on the right side for advancing lancets. As with most things this makes the device harder to operate for the left-handed. The top button is the trigger button for lancing; the other buttons are used to set lancing depth. A small LCD screen displays lancing depth, number of lancets remaining, lancet ready icon, and battery strength. The screen is not backlit but is still easy to read in dim lighting. Lancing takes place over a small hole on the top panel of the device that looks like a headphone jack.

The size of the device is the main drawback. With the miniaturization of glucose meters and other portable electronic devices like cell phones and mp3 players it is difficult to imagine anyone carrying around a device of this size. As a stay at home device or for people who don’t mind carrying around lots of stuff this is not a problem.

The lancet cartridges are flat two inch diameter discs that house 50 lancets in a circular array, thus the name of the device “the Sun”. Changing discs is pretty simple and involves removing the back panel of the device and dropping in a new disk with the printed arrow on the disk pointing to 12 o’clock. There are 30 lancing depths that can be set from 0.1 to 3.0 in 0.1 increments. Once I became comfortable with the depth setting that worked for me finger sticks became painless with only an occasional stick that would sting for more than a few seconds. There are a few hurdles that a new user will face with the device. It can take a while to figure out what depth setting works best. It took about fifteen or so lancets before I became comfortable with a setting. There can also be some variability in settings for different fingers. It can take some time to figure out the correct pressure to apply with your finger over the lancet opening. Applying inconsistent pressure to the opening from one stick to another can lead to a more painful stick or one that does not draw blood. But after a little practice lancing becomes a painless affair.

The device is powered by one lithium battery (CR123-A) that according to the manufacturer is good for 500 lancings. After about a month the battery indicator on my demo unit has not dropped at all after 50 lancings. The lithium batteries are usually more expensive and harder to find than alkaline batteries and rechargeable batteries are not recommended, therefore it might be useful to have an extra battery around as a backup.

Overall I would strongly recommend this product for those who check their blood glucose regularly, especially if most of the checks are being done at home. This device is particularly useful for those sensitive to lancing such as young children, individuals looking to decrease nerve damage associated with lancing and those who have stopped checking blood glucose because of the pain.

Note: the device reviewed was a demonstration unit.
The device is available to order by mail through Pelikan Technologies website for $199.00; the lancet discs are available for $14.99 for 2 discs (100 lancets)

Update: Previously my main complaint about the Pelikan Sun device was about the size of the device and the inconvenience of carrying it. For the past week I’ve returned to using a mechanical lancet device on my palms and already miss the painless finger sticks of the Pelikan device. While I previously questioned whether it was worth carrying for me the device is very much worth taking on the road even if it means leaving the iPod behind, at least until that ultimate convergence device comes out, the blood glucose meter/Pelikan lancet/mp3 player/cell phone/internet device.