Patient organisation comments
Diabetes UK gave the following comments on FreeStyle Libre.
FreeStyle Libre is unique and novel, fitting in between finger-prick monitors and continuous glucose monitors. It provides more information to the user than finger-prick testing, allowing them to better manage their insulin dosing, food intake and activity. It is convenient because it can provide predicted HbA1c measurements between clinic appointments, and can be used with home computers and smartphones. Because it is factory-calibrated and can be used as a finger-prick glucose and ketone monitor, it avoids the need to use several pieces of technology.
In its experience, Diabetes UK stated that it has found that education and training would be needed for both healthcare professionals and users of FreeStyle Libre to ensure that the full benefits are delivered. Users should be made aware of the device's limitations, for example that finger-prick tests are still needed before driving or at times of rapid changes in blood glucose levels, and that adverse and severe skin reactions to the sensor have been a common problem. Some users need to use a skin covering in order to be able to use the sensor. The charity recommended that longer-term studies should investigate this.
Diabetes UK noted that FreeStyle Libre might be particularly useful for certain groups of people. Continuous glucose monitors are sometimes recommended for pregnant women, but because these are fixed to the abdomen FreeStyle Libre may be a suitable alternative. Other people who may benefit include people with highly variable blood glucose, people with poor peripheral circulation, older people, and hospital inpatients who need regular monitoring. FreeStyle Libre should not be used for people with no awareness of the symptoms of hypoglycaemia.
Using FreeStyle Libre may benefit people in certain jobs where finger-prick testing is not always practical. It could also provide education by allowing people to link certain foods or behaviours to changes in their glucose levels.
FreeStyle Libre could have a positive impact on NHS services because of improved management of HbA1c levels leading to potentially fewer emergency admissions, less inpatient care and better outcomes for patients. It would help people to meet the frequency of glucose testing recommended in NICE guidance. It could also save costs associated with glucose test strips.