The diabetes watch monitor began development in the mid-90s. Several prototype versions emerged in the early 00s and were designed and manufactured by different companies. The only diabetes watch ever approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the GlucoWatch. The diabetes watch monitor was designed to be used in conjunction with blood glucose meters and was only available with a prescription from a trained doctor. The GlucoWatch had been particularly recommended for pregnant women who need to stay on top of hypoglycemia and for patients who could benefit from the additional knowledge of blood glucose levels throughout the day such as those with a hypoglycemic insensitivity. The diabetes watch monitor was only approved for children over the age of seven.


Diabetes Watch Monitor – GlucoWatch


The FDA approved the GlucoWatch Biographer for use in 2001. The diabetes watch functioned by using a skin pad on the underside of the watch. The pad adhered to the skin and, using an electronic current, pulled fluid from the skin and into the device, allowing it to monitor glucose levels. Readings could be taken at least several times an hour and up to once every ten minutes. An alarm sounded when blood glucose rose above or fell below the pre-set levels. The skin pad had to be changed after about 12-13 hours and re-calibrated with a finger stick measurement to set proper glucose levels. After warming up for two hours the watch could be used again.


Diabetes Watch Monitor – Reliability and Discontinuation


In a study published in Diabetes Care comparing the GlucoWatch with standard glucose monitoring in children researchers found that the GlucoWatch, when used with standard glucose monitoring, did not reduce the incidence of hypoglycemia nor did it improve blood glucose control. The researchers also found that skin discomfort led to discontinued use of the watch over time. These   findings were backed by other consumer reports of irritation and pain due to the watch with scabbing, dry skin, and scarring common complaints. The watch was also found to give false alarms when blood glucose levels were found to be in the normal range when tested with standard methods. For these reasons and the perceived inconvenience of the watch’s warm up period, the manufacturer discontinued production of the watch in 2008. There have been no further developments in the production of a diabetes watch monitor. For individuals who need to constantly monitor their blood glucose there are other forms of continuous monitoring. One option is a sensor that can be inserted under the skin, sending glucose information to a mobile device, allowing for constant readings and the advantage of recognizing trends.