A look at the new FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor from Abbott.
It's taken a little while to get here but
it's here: the FreeStyle Libre 2 (FSL2) is
available on the NHS for people who
qualify across most of the nation and
from the online FreeStyle Libre shop for
Availability of FSL2 in the UK was
slower than in other markets, as other
markets do not have to negotiate with
and navigate a relationship with the
NHS. Getting the original FreeStyle Libre
on prescription in 2017 was a massive
achievement for the diabetes sector. It
did take time, but with help from users
and healthcare professionals, it got over
the line. Now, as products evolve, the
company has a relationship in place with
the NHS for sensors.
The newer sensor model is available
at the same cost as the original FreeStyle
Libre model. While it is comprised of
similar components and has features that
existing users are familiar with, it comes
with improved accuracy and features realtime alarms.
Built on the same established ecosystem,
FSL2 brings three key benefits. First,
like the original FreeStyle Libre, FSL2 is
discreet, convenient and easy-to-use.
Second, it boasts improved accuracy.
Third, optional alarms can be generated
to warn users if their interstitial body
fluid glucose levels are rising or falling
fast enough to warrant the need to take
action. The alarms are received on the
FreeStyle Libre Link app; notifications
(rather than actual alarms) are sent to
LibreLinkUp (the caregiver app) if the user
has enabled sharing.
When the sensor comes out of the
box, the default is that the alarm systems
are turned off, so that their use can evolve
with the needs of the user. Similarly, the
existing Libre reader is not being phased
out, at least not at this time, as not
everyone uses smartphones. There has
been a growth in the use of technology
in diabetes care, but that it's not the case
for everyone, so the reader is offered
alongside the smartphone apps, with
updated readers being replaced for free
for those who need them. Although the
announcement was made at the end of
2020 that the UK was to get access for
FSL2, it did take time for the numerous
GP's commissioning systems to be
updated. Abbott's aim now is to raise
awareness that there are two models.
The system is proven as a safe and
efficient way to replace blood glucose
monitoring with very little need for
additional blood tests. The user's glucose
data is visible after scanning the sensor.
This is an evolution of the system; it has
better accuracy especially at the lower
range and can 'alarm appropriately'.
Sounds associated with the alarms can
be customized, which is to say there is a
choice of sounds or can put on to vibrate.
You might be wondering why the
alarms are optional, why wouldn't
everyone want them? But the fact is that
they are not for everyone. Alarms are used
more by certain people: those who don't
mind beeps letting them know what's
going on, in cases where the person
with diabetes has low hypo awareness,
for children - especially at nighttime,
or someone who is looked after by a
carer who needs to be made aware of a
potential high or low. So it's a choice.
People with diabetes who are not
existing users but who are interested in
finding out more about the technology
are being asked to wait until their next
appointment with their HCP to see if
they qualify. Existing users can choose
to migrate to the newer sensor at an
appropriate time, but they don't have to.
Meanwhile, there is availability from the
FreeStyle Libre shop for those who selffund and at the same cost.