Abbott’s new FreeStyle Libre glucose sensor system is generating excitement due to the fact that the Libre technology presents a ‘third way’ of keeping track of blood glucose levels. Abbott has a foothold in both the blood glucose meter arena with its FreeStyle range of testers, and also has a slightly less well-known CGM called the Navigator. The company’s newest addition uses Flash Glucose Monitoring, which features a sensor and a reader and a fair bit of data generation.
Between the dynamic duo – sensor and reader – a reading per minute is taken. Every 15th reading is fed in as a point on a graph on the reader. The daily graph that is generated will, over time, show overall trends that can lead to modifications in medication (such as an increased pump basal level at certain times in the day, or a change of insulin-to-carb ratios for someone on injections).
Unlike CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) these readings are not beamed to the reader, you have to manually ‘swipe’ the sensor with the reader. As a result it lacks audible alarms that tell you if your glucose levels are shifting fast, either up or down, but it does show on the reader’s screen an arrow that show if you are steady, going up, or going down in regards to the last 15 readings. These offer very helpful insights and there is not invasive finger-prick required.
One sensor lasts 14 days (more than twice most CGM sensors recommended usage). Swiping is painless and fast. Currently unavailable on the NHS, and not available to children with diabetes, while only being licensed for the sensor to be used on the upper arm, early feedback is positive. From next month you can buy a starter pack (a reader and two sensors) for £160. The reader is a one-off buy while two sensors will give you 28 days coverage.
The FreeStyle Libre sensor uses Wired Enzyme technology to achieve stable sensor performance. Wired Enzyme technology is not dependent on oxygen to provide glucose readings and allows the sensor to operate at a very low electrical potential as a reference electrode.
There is an on-board insulin calculator in the professional options section, which means it needs to be set up in conjunction with them and details of how to do this are in the sensor and reader user manual. Reports generated from the sensors can be saved as a PDF from the software package and shared via email if wanted. To do this you will need to download the necessary software from the Libre’s website.
To find out more or to crack on and just buy a unit, go to www.freestylelibre.co.uk