I just saw this report about the Freestyle Libre system. If you're not familiar, the Libre system is a round sensor worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days, which measures glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a small filament that is inserted just under the skin (just like a CGM). The difference between a CGM and the Libre system is that the user has to scan a reader over the sensor to get a glucose reading (with no additional pricks).
The study was conducted and published by the makers of the device. But here's some more on what they did:
The real-world data findings were presented today at the Advanced Technologies and Treatment for Diabetes (ATTD) congress in Paris. The data show a strong link between real-world use of FreeStyle Libre system and glucose control. The full data set was generated from 50,831 readers, which were used to scan 279,446 sensors. This constituted 409.4 million glucose measurements, 86.4 million monitoring hours and 63.8 million scans – representing more than 50,000 FreeStyle Libre users across the Europe region.
I think that the results aren't really surprising. And maybe this is one of those studies that just has to be done to prove what most people would assume to be true.
Key findings of the real-world data of the FreeStyle Libre system:
More scanning: Users checked their glucose levels an average of 16.3 scans per day
Across the spectrum of scan rates seen in the population, the following trends were observed as scan rates increased:
Improved HbA1c: Average glucose level decreased as scan rate increased with estimated HbA1c decreasing from 8.0 to 6.7 percent
Reduction in hypoglycemia: Time spent below glucose levels of 70, 55 and 45 mg/dL decreased by 15 percent, 40 percent and 49 percent
Reduction in hyperglycemia: Time above 180 mg/dL decreased from 10.5 to 5.9 hours per day
Increased time in range: Time in glucose range (70-180 mg/dL) increased from 12.0 to 16.8 hours per day
So the published report (which you can see on the Abbott website) says that people check their glucose with traditional self-monitoring methods (finger pricks) less than three times per day on average. And Freestyle Libre users check their glucose more than 16 times per day on average.
My assumption is that CGM technology and the FreeStyle Libre system (which isn't quite CGM but certainly gives a user more data than finger pricks) is good for people managing diabetes. And therefore should be available and used by every single person diagnosed with diabetes. But when I assume stuff, I'm usually forgetting someone else's perspective. So...are there reasons that don't include financial burden or insurance/coverage/access that make you believe that CGM/Libre technology wouldn't be helpful? What are the reasons other than coverage/access that have stopped you from using this technology?
PS: The FreeStyle Libre system is under review by the FDA in the US.