In October, Abbott launched its highly awaited FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring system in Europe. The unique product is intended as a replacement for blood glucose meters, while giving patients many of the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), including real-time glucose values, trend information and comprehensive reports.
Though it is not yet approved in the US, we were able to test the product over the past month (the device can only be ordered online from websites in Europe). Given what we had heard from so many European bloggers, we had high expectations going into our test, and FreeStyle Libre absolutely met them at every step – the system was easy to setup and use (a major win for healthcare providers); discreet to wear on the upper arm; accurate enough from which to dose insulin, with performance similar to Dexcom’s G4 Platinum CGM (though no fingersticks were required); and it gave an excellent picture of glucose trends through real-time and on-device reports.
In short, it is transformative compared to the limited information provided by traditional blood glucose meters, all in a package anyone can pick up and learn to use. We give FreeStyle Libre an emphatic thumbs up and would recommend it to nearly anyone with diabetes, especially those on insulin who test their blood glucose frequently and want more actionable information than fingersticks alone can provide.
One key point of difference from CGM is that FreeStyle Libre does not have high or low alarms, meaning it is not as ideal for those with lots of hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia unawareness.