Abbott Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring: no more fingerpricks?

The information about Abbott’s Flash Glucose Monitoring seems to be getting stronger by the week with little snippets being released every now and then.

In summary
From what I’ve read and watched (and hopefully understood correctly) I take it that:

- Abbott’s Flash Glucose Monitoring will require a sensor to be worn for 14 days
- The sensor is factory calibrated and won’t require fingerstick calibration like normally CGM.
- No more fingerstick glucose checks will need to take place.
- There will be a reader which will be can be swiped over the sensor to get the current glucose reading.
And the killer selling point (from my point of view)
- The sensor stores the last 8 hours of readings, so swiping over it in the morning tells you what happened during the night. Priceless.

One of the most recent bits of information I’ve come across featured a video about testing whilst in a fast-paced job.

A world without fingerpricks?

So no more fingerpricks and no more sore fingers?
No more wondering what happened to blood glucose levels whilst asleep?
Parents being able to check their kid’s glucose levels during the night without waking them?
Adults being able to basal test during the night without having to wake themselves up and potentially altering the result?
Basal injections or basal profiles on pumps being able to be finer tuned.

But is it a replacement for CGM?

In a word, no, well not as such.
No, it won’t give any alarms about low or high glucose levels, or rapidly changing levels.
No, it won’t be able to do anything like the Medtronic pump’s Low Glucose Suspend mode which shuts off delivery of any insulin if their CGM tells it the glucose level is below a minimum level.
As a family which has only used CGM for almost a month it would be good for us as the key thing we’ve been doing with CGM is to get the overnight basal profile correct for my daughter’s insulin pump. We’ve also been using it to see how different foods change glucose levels.
For these two things the Flash product would be great.

Pie in the sky? Make or break?

With the sheer volume of information coming direct from Abbott themselves it’s hard to see that this could be pie in the sky. I’ve heard that Abbott expects Flash Glucose Monitoring to be at the core of their business within a few years and they’re rumoured to have told the stock market this, so it sounds like it’s a make or break thing for them.

The next announcement?

There will hopefully be a lot more information coming in the next couple of months leading up to Abbott’s symposium at 10am on 15th September at EASD2014 (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) in Vienna.
If you’re not one of the lucky ones whose able to be there you can register to view it online, like I have.

Pricing: the big question

Hopefully they’ll announce the date Flash Glucose Monitoring will become available and how much it will cost.
Hopefully it’ll be at a cost acceptable to the NHS – but I doubt it.
Maybe the NHS would partially fund it, with the people with diabetes (or their parents) funding the remainder. I’d be interested in doing this although I’m not sure how much I’d be willing to pay.


It’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about this.

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3 Responses to Abbott Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring: no more fingerpricks?

  1. Karen says:

    Interesting. I love to see new d-tech, whether it’s right for me or not, because it gives me hope that one day all the best features of each device can combine to one really awesome thing!!


  2. I can’t wait to see more details about this either Kev. Whatever happens it’s a step in the right direction. Perhaps a revolutionary change like this will inspire the other diagnostic companies to step up their game, I’m sure they are already watching Abbott with great interest. Thanks also for the link, I’ve just signed up to watch the symposium online.

    • Kev says:

      Hi Lee, yes it’s very promising although it will hopefully be a short-lived thing if all other trials for dual-hormone pumps and probably more importantly stem-cell research progresses at the rate it is. As soon as the bionic-pancreas becomes a reality it’s hard to see that those lucky users would be interested in Flash Glucose Monitoring.

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