The Freestyle Libre – New Kit for Type 1 Diabetics

freestyle libreI have a new toy and I LOVE it – the Freestyle Libre, the new glucose monitoring system.

Dr Morrison blogged about the Freestyle Libre earlier this year. I was given one when I attended the diabetic clinic yesterday as an Abbot representative (Abbot make them) was at the clinic and handing out samples.

So what is it? The Freestyle Libre monitors what is called interstitial fluid glucose level via a sensor you attach to your upper arm. The sensor stays in place or 14 days, and you use a reader to scan it and get your glucose levels. It takes a second to do.

What are the pros and cons?

The advantages:

  • No finger pricking
  • No inserting sticks into a machine
  • You can scan through your clothes
  • You can scan as often as you want
  • You get an eight-hour glucose history
  • For parents, you can scan a child while he or she is sleeping to check they are okay
  • There’s a trend arrow that shows you where your glucose levels are heading.

The disadvantages:

  • It can’t replace blood glucose testing. If you are going to drive, you should still test your blood sugar levels beforehand. The same applies if you think you are hypo, and the scan doesn’t show you are.
  • This one’s a biggie… Freestyle Libre isn’t available on the NHS. Sensors need to be replaced every 14 days and they cost £57.95. If you have type 1 diabetes, you can claim relief from VAT which brings the costs down to £48.29. It’s still a huge amount of money, and there’s no way I can afford that.

To keep costs down, you needn’t use the sensor all the time. Perhaps you could use it every few months just to get a clearer idea of how your glucose levels behave over a 14-day period.

I’m told Abbot is working hard to make the sensors available on the NHS. Fingers crossed, hmm? I’m one day into my 14-day trial and I love it.