Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system – 1 month trial

Over the next month, I am going to be trialling the newly CE approved Freestyle Libre glucose meter by Abbott. This meter has received a whole lot of press this past week (HERE and HERE and all over the diabetes online community on twitter and Facebook) when the news came out that it was going to be released in Europe.

Starter kit for Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system

I’m going to start right off the bat with the disclaimer :

I have been invited by Abbott to test out the newly CE marked Freestyle Libre glucose monitor, slightly before it is officially released in Europe. I have received the meter and 2 sensors (to be worn 14 days each) free of charge from Abbott. At the ed of the month-long trial, I will be filling out a questionnaire on the system and I am free but not obliged to write more about my experience. I am not being paid to participate in this trial and will return all non-disposible material after the trial to Abbott.

There, now that that’s out of the way, I’m very excited to give this new product a try. From watching a few videos online, I can already see the many advantages it has over a regular blood glucose meter. However, I’ve been wearing a Dexcom CGM for a year now and I am unsure how I’ll feel about some of the differences between this new device and a CGM.

Some of the most obvious perks of the Libre :

  • It requires no calibration, not even at start up – and has only a one hour startup “blind” time. (Although precaution is of course give to test your blood glucose level with a finger stick test if unsure of the Libre reading or to confirm a low.)
  • Sensors are to be worn for 14 days (and I hope they stay stuck that long!!).
  • The sensor stores data so you can be away from the “reader” (hand held part of the kit) for up to 8 hours with no gaps in your graph.

The most obvious downside, at least compared to my current technology, is that it is not a continuous glucose monitor and since I have to scan the sensor for readings, there are no alerts to lows or highs or rapidly rising or falling blood sugar levels.

Abbott is leaning heavily on the “no finger pricks” in their marketing effort – almost too far in my opinion. In one video released in France, they go as far as to say that fingers are what is most affected by diabetes. I strongly disagree with this statement. Even if I would love to give my poor finger tips a break, diabetes has a far greater influence on my emotions and mental health, not to mention the physical side of dealing with daily highs and lows and all the D-planning, D-math and D-organisation that fills my days.

I can’t say much more on the specifics of this new product yet as I won’t be inserting my first sensor until friday this week but I will report back with how I feel about it once I’m wearing it. So far, I’m excited that new technology like this is becoming available. Of course being available and actually having access is another question. As far as I know, there will be no reimbursement for this new product in the European countries where it’s being released over the coming months. I have no idea what the cost will be but that will be one of my questions to Abbott.

So stay tuned over the next month and I promise some feedback and would be happy to try to answer any questions people may have.

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