Which CGM is right for me?
Has your physician recommended Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre CGM to manage your diabetes care? Well, you’re in luck! US MED has been providing high-quality medical supplies for more than 20 years and we’ve got the inside scoop on the differences between the FreeStyle Libre 14-day system and FreeStyle Libre 2 ready to share with you. If you are new to CGMs, check out our article that explains the different types of continuous glucose monitors that are on the market.
FreeStyle Libre CGM Systems – how they work
The FreeStyle CGM systems are made up of a reader and a sensor. The small sensor is placed on the back of your upper arm, which measures the glucose levels within the interstitial fluid located just underneath your skin. To check your glucose levels, you simply scan your sensor using the FreeStyle Libre reader or your smartphone*. Glucose levels are continuously monitored without the need for constant fingersticks. It is important to note that there may be times where fingersticks will be required for treatment decisions. Such times include when you see the “Check Blood Glucose” symbol on your reader, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.
FreeStyle Libre and Libre 2 similarities
The FreeStyle Libre 2 has many similarities to the FreeStyle Libre. Here’s a list of all the features that both continuous glucose monitoring systems have in common:
- No Fingersticks needed for calibration.
- Measure your glucose every minute, 1,440 readings per day. This is the highest number of daily readings in any CGM currently on the market. That’s five times more glucose readings than competitor brands.
- Thin Small Sensors. Each one is about the size of 2 stacked US quarters. They are the thinnest sensors when compared to competitor brands. Low profile prevents the sensors from interfering with your normal activities.
- Sensors last up to 14 days. Replace sensors less often.
- Sensors maintain a high level of accuracy over 14 days.
- Sensors typically placed on the back of the upper arm.
- Water resistant Sensors which can be worn while swimming, showering, or exercising.
- Trend arrows show glucose changes, which can be used to prevent going into hypo or hyperglycemia.
- Built-in glucose finger testing meter to check your CGM reading.
FreeStyle Libre and Libre 2 differences
First, the FreeStyle Libre 2 is an integrated Continuous Glucose Monitor (iCGM). The FDA classifies an iCGM as a CGM that can be used as part of an integrated system with other compatible medical devices, software, and electronic interfaces. Examples include automated insulin dosing systems, insulin pumps, blood glucose meters or other electronic devices used for diabetes management. It’s important to note that Abbott states “this system must not be used with an automated insulin dosing system, such as a closed-loop insulin delivery system, and insulin suspend systems.” You’re probably asking yourself, “What does all of this mean?” It means that for now, the FreeStyle Libre 2 can integrate with software and other medical electronic interfaces but cannot control delivery of insulin through an insulin pump.
Second, the FreeStyle Libre 2 has a customizable audio alarm which alerts you within a minute if you are too high or too low without having to scan. This feature brings the FreeStyle Libre 2 on a level playing field with the Dexcom G6. This alarm is optional, giving you the freedom to turn it on or off. The FreeStyle Libre does not have any alarms and requires you to check your reader to see if you’re approaching hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
The FreeStyle Libre 2 system has a combined mean absolute relative difference (MARD) of 9.3% (9.2% for adults and 9.7% for pediatrics), making it the only iCGM sensor sustaining a high level of accuracy over 14 days. For those that are not familiar with MARD, it is a commonly used measurement of performance for continuous glucose monitoring devices. According to the American Diabetes Association, “the mean absolute relative difference (MARD) is currently the most common metric used to assess the performance of CGM systems. MARD is the average of the absolute error between all CGM values and matched reference values. A small percentage indicates that the CGM readings are close to the reference glucose value, whereas a larger MARD percentage indicates greater discrepancies between the CGM and reference glucose values.”
Lastly, the FreeStyle Libre can only be used by adults 18 years old or older while the FreeStyle Libre 2 has been approved for children ages 4 and up, as well as adults. The FreeStyle Libre 2 also has one-third fewer false alarms in children when compared to competitor CGM brands.
We also note that the LibreLink app, which allows users to scan their sensor with their smartphone, is not yet available for the FreeStyle Libre 2. If you prefer to use your smartphone instead of the reader, the 14-day FreeStyle Libre is the right choice.
Ready to order?
All things considered, the Freesyle Libre 2 has all of the features of the FreeStyle Libre with the added benefits of an alarm to alert you of highs and lows, along with the expanded use by children ages 4 and older. US MED cannot provide medical treatment advice and cannot tell you which device is best for you. However, we have provided enough information for you and your physician to make an informed decision. Consider the features of each CGM system and decide which ones are most important for your healthcare needs.
US MED is proud to offer both CGM systems and 90-day supplies, delivered to your door with free shipping. Call us for a free insurance benefits check! 877-840-8218
From the comfort of your own home or office, you can now join over 1 million satisfied customers who rely on our staff of courteous, knowledgeable, and trained US MED customer care representatives to keep you up-to-date with your medical and diabetic supplies delivered right to your door.
Important safety precautions for both FreeStyle Libre Systems:
Do not take high doses of vitamin C (more than 500 mg per day), as this may falsely raise your Sensor readings.
*The FreeStyle LibreLink app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check our compatibility guide for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of the FreeStyle LibreLink app requires registration with LibreView, a service provided by Abbott and Newyu, Inc.
**Among patient-applied, on-body sensors. Date on file, Abbott Diabetes Care.