FreeStyle Libre

Abbott FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System

Helen-Edwards blood glucose levels, Diabetes and Technology 21 Comments

Have you heard the buzz about the FreeStyle Libre? Finger pricks (and the inaccuracy of these) remains one of the biggest issues facing many of us with diabetes. I know as someone who has had type 1 diabetes for 37 years and lives with gastroparesis, my diabetes is a tricky beast and it is not unheard of for me to do more than 20 blood checks per day on some days. Some evenings I am checking quite often to see the trends – are my levels crashing, rising rapidly or sitting nicely? You may have the same deal. A finger prick is one moment in time. It does not tell you what may happen in 20 or 30 minutes, or even an hour, unless you check again, and that means a lot of pricks! Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is no longer new, although it is not widespread in Australia, probably due to costs. We need to deal with this. When I went onto an insulin pump the consumables were not covered by the National Diabetes Services Scheme here in Australia (NDSS) but we fought and won. Although not cheap to run, at least a pump is now more affordable than it used to be. All the emerging technologies should be affordable for people with diabetes to access.

The latest product to hit our shores is the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. Unlike the CGM’s, this is not connected to an insulin pump and is a flash glucose monitoring system. It runs as a stand alone system. A sensor is inserted into the back of the upper arm which lasts for 2 weeks. The reader then scans this at any time you want to check your levels, with no need for calibration with a finger prick. However like in all circumstances, you should check with a finger prick if you are very high, low or trending up or down rapidly.

I am lucky to be given one to road test and will be sharing with you over coming weeks. I have just inserted it today and can say that it was easy and pain free. An hour later I feel a slight sensation of something in my arm, but it is not hurting.

Follow along with the blog and social media to keep an eye on my progress and review.

You can go here to add your name to the waiting list for release in Australia which is expected in about 4 weeks – late May 2016. Head here for videos and I will be making some of my own for you with the review.

Let me know if you have questions – the price has not been released yet




Comments 21

  1. Cool about the sensor.  In the US we only two choices
    and i am happy to know there is another potential option out there.

    I referred your article to the
    TUDiabetes blog page for the week of April 18, 2016.

  2. In GB it’s about $300 for the machine, and $100 AUD for the sensors so it’s an expensive prospect, I’ve heard it’s going to be the same amount out here and there’s no way I can afford $100 every 2 weeks. The only option I can see is using the sensors for special occasions, like a holiday or if you want a break for a while. Of course there’s then the consideration of having to start blood testing again, but it might be worth it, even for two weeks using this new system and four weeks using our old meters. I’ve seen reviews of the Abbott system, and the only people seem to not like is that you can’t change the preset range of sugar levels, and with the sensors you’re better off inserting them about 2 hours before yo want to use them, as you don’t get an accurate reading that way. I’m sure you’ll discover this with time though. The interesting thing would be if you continued to blood test using your current meter as opposed to this one while you’re testing it, to draw a comparison. I’d love to know how accurate you find it.

    1. Post

      you can actually change the pre set range – I have set up my own ranges on the machine. I will not be able to afford it either most likely. I have found it inconsistent at times that really matter…which is an issue for me. But that was the same for me with a CGM so maybe it is me! I am plodding on for another 9 days to see how it goes. I have checked on the other machine and it is pretty close to this one on finger pricks

  3. I picked up the Reader and a few sensors while visiting family in Europe.

    Within 2 weeks I was absolutely hooked! It has been by no means flawless, but even with its quirks it is a fantastic system that I would recommend anyone try out. The Libre has simultaneously allowed me to be an OCD perfectionist (average 40 “swipes” a day) and have the freedom to be spontaneous with food, exercise and lifestyle.

    Can’t wait until it is available here in Australia as I can’t imagine going back to the 10 – 20 finger pricks a day. I see that progress has been made: the online store has been enabled and the prices set at AU$95.

  4. Apparently it’s only to be used for ages 18 & above in Australia! I find this very odd as in the UK it is used from ages 4 & above. Does anyone know why? How can age of use vary from one country to the next?This would be so wonderful for children & give there little fingers a much needed break. I was so exited about this as my 11 year old son has type 1.

  5. ATKO3 The government announced a week or two ago that they’re going to provide this system for every child aged under 18, so I would contact Diabetes Australia to find out more information, as they would have far more details for you. Just remember that the Libre has a delay on your child’s sugar levels, so during a hypo it would be a good idea to use your child’s current meter.

  6. The announcement you are talking about is for a CGM which is used with a pump, my son injects so of no bebefeit. The freestyle Libre is different to the one the government is talking about funding. What’s really unusual about the Libre is that in Europe it’s approved for use in children 4 & upwards yet here in Australia it’s 18 & above.

  7. ATKO3 Oh no really? I was 10 years old when I developed type 1 and I absolutely hated the finger pricks, well I’m not exactly fond of them now but I just loathed them and that had an effect upon my control, so I can’t understand why they wouldn’t pay for non-pump users like your son. I’m really sorry they won’t be paying for your son, the announcement I saw was misleading, as always, they didn’t provide us with the whole truth.

  8. rncmarques Yes I am also an OCD checker and did like being able to swipe – however after the 4 weeks I had too many readings that were not consistent with my finger pricks so will probably not go ahead with one when they arrive

  9. Recycled_Interiors rncmarques I am just finishing my first two weeks and have to change to the next sensor. I found the same inconsistency: variations of up to 3mmols/l when compared to the inbuilt strip meter and my old Optium Neo. The strips are usually withing 0.1mmol/L. I do like to be able to see the 24 hour graph and take into account the variations. I shall be trying another sensor and make my mind up to continue after that period.

  10. I am currently using this device and are getting false or bad readings. I placed the sensor on my upper arm as described in the information sheet yet every reading is different to my finger prick test using the same device. Example; I was not feeling the best sugar wise and so swiped the device and it gave me a reading of 5.2. I didn’t think this was right so I did the finger prick test straight away and got a reading 1.9. This is just one of many variances I am getting. The average difference is +2.0 which is a big variance when one relies on the device so that one can administer the right amount of insulin. i am not sure if it is me or the device and would love to get other peoples thoughts and comments. Does anyone else get the same type of differences. Am I one of the few out of the norm with this device getting different readings? I have 6 days to go and once finished I will not be using this device again and rely on the finger prick test sadly. I was hoping for something new and wonderful like this was being said to be, again sadly not for me. 🙁

    The difference in measured level from sensor and finger prick is just too big! I woke up at 5am and Libre ended showing 3.7 and I freaked out! 3.7 for me is really low, but I thought I would test my blood the old fashion way and it was 6.8! I was just about to take 2-3 glucose tablets (which were totally unnecessary as you can see) because Libre said 3.9 and said “still going down”. 2-3 glucose tablets when I was really 6.8 would had left me at 14-ish!
    I have documented all these discrepancies because it is more or less every day it happens! The other day it had my sugar level dropping from 4.3 to 3.7 in 90 seconds and the worst one is 4.3 Libre…7.4 finger blood!
    All this thing has done is stress me out to a point where I had a full blown panic attack because it showed 3.4 and I am one of those people where BGL drops really quick even with the insulin I inject, so 3.4 is actually quite dangerous for me. My BGL MUST be over 6 at all times (sometimes difficult) but it gives me a “safety buffer” so I can get the glucose into me!
    Would I recommend it…NO…NOT IN A MILLION YEARS! I’d rather prick my fingers 20 times a day and get an ACCURATE reading than scan myself like a dog with a microchip and get a grossly incorrect reading. 🙂

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