Prolonging the life of a Dexcom G6 sensor

Just got off the phone with a Dexcom rep. When I told him my sensors used to last a long time but are not lasting beyond 8 days now he said they have identified four things that can shorten the life of Dexcom G6 sensors:

  1. Pressure. Pushing hard on the transmitter/sensor lump can force the sensor wire deeper into the skin and into contact with blood. Since the sensor works on interstitial fluid, contacting blood confuses it. Pressure can come from sleeping on the sensor. Guess you should sleep on your back, not carry things against your body, no martial arts, no contact sports.

  2. Meds. The sensor’s resistance to acetaminophen only lasts so long, then it begins to interfere. Don’t know why they even advertise that.

  3. Skin adhesive. Some people use IV Prepwipes instead of alcohol pads to clean the skin before installing a sensor. The adhesive in the prepwipe can wipe out the sensor.

4.Dehydration. If your body is dehydrated there may not be enough interstitial fluid around the sensor wire to make it work. I have to say this one will take some thought!

How come they have not gotten this out more? First time I have ever heard the dehydration theory.

Edit: I had thought that my own problem this time was a sensor wire that did not insert. The needle did, but the sensor failed immediately, and when I peeled it off the wire was flat against the bottom of the patch. I pulled the next one off in stages, watched the wire emerge from the skin, and then watched it flip up flat with the bottom of the patch like the first one. So the first one probably did insert correctly, it just did not work.

Still by far the best CGM system I have used. My life is better with it, and when the Tandem loop is completed I hope it will be even better.


What a great post with usable info. Thanks!

If that is the case, Dexcom does a god awful job communicating the issues. Let’s wait for someone to call in vs proactively communicating helpful tips to their users.

Or do what we do and suck it up, and replace when they get ripped off, and occassionally, go a week or two until we are eligible for replacements. sigh.

Pressure and Dehydration have been discussed a bunch in regards Dexcom sensors in the past, but Meds and Skin Adhesive are new ones to me. At least for the G6. Seems like saying it doesn’t sense acetaminophen in the marketing materials, and then admitting that is only for some unknown period of time is kind of frustrating.

I was wondering what they did for the acetaminophen, from your comment I am guessing they came up with a coating that doesn’t let the acetaminophen through and once that is saturated the acetaminophen gets through. I was hoping they had made the big advancement which would be to poise the sensors at a lower potential that doesn’t electro-oxidize the acetaminophen, but that wouldn’t jive with their comment above. Bummer.

One of the major selling points of the G6 from Dexcom was you could take Tylenol unlike the G5. I’ve recently noticed when you call Dexcom tech support, they are in fact now warning that taking acetaminophen will cause issues with the sensor. This worries me because this POS was sold to the FDA under the guise of not being affected by acetaminophen. When the G6 first came out the adhesive was a joke, Dexcom themselves were recommending skin tac. Now, years later without a single whimper from them, skin tac can now cause Issues. I’ve also noticed the weight question has come back into their first line of questioning. I’m with @Thomas, this whole story from Dexcom is BS.

1 Like

If the acetaminophen issue is true, it’s a big one for me. I have rheumatoid arthritis and renal disease so I can’t take NSAIDS, and I don’t really want to go down the opioid path, so I rely on acetaminophen as my only available pain reliever for RA. And it’s not super effective. Currently I take 2,000 mg per most days, but it hasn’t seemed to cause sensor issues, at least not yet. I even had one sensor that I restarted and got 30 days out of. The only sensor that I had to abandon was a bleeder. The others have worked for at least the 10 days.