Alicia: UnLeashed! March 2018 monthly article
A Flash (meter) in the pan: My Review of Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor after 10 days
With so many new and emerging technologies I have been testing out a lot of different methods for managing my diabetes recently. So, when I got an emailed offer for all Dexcom users to get a free Freestyle Libre sensor and scanner I gave it a whirl.
Gary gave the sensor a try and rigorously crunched the numbers for accuracy, because it’s a meter, that’s what it is for right? To give us accurate blood sugar data. However, I took a different tack. I wanted to experience living with the Libre like anyone would for 10 days.
Day one was an interesting and novel feeling as I put my glucometer in a drawer. That little zipper pouch that has occupied its own little corner of my coffee table, nightstand, desk and purse for well over a decade went away for 10 days while I lived finger stick free. This is the first perk, and first draw back of the Libre system, no finger sticks! There is no calibration needed for this system, you insert and move on with your life. I did continue to test for the first day and a half. Initially it was to allow the sensor the first day to “warm up” as other sensors do, the rest of the time was for me to trust it with my life. But no calibration means that, should the system be off from a fingerstick blood sugar you can not calibrate it to improve accuracy. I found that elevated blood sugars were often measured higher by the Libre than my Contour Next meter (ranked as most accurate) This is disconcerting since I am accustomed to being able to use my dexcom data in place of finger sticks. I don’t want to switch to a device that is less reliable. That first day brought to light a second issue, losing a day of data with every new sensor, that’s minimum 10% data lost right away. The only way around this would be to acquire a second scanner and start/insert a new sensor a day before removing the old one. This would reduce the data gap, but it remains to be seen whether one could upload multiple scanners to one user profile to have complete reports.
Once I’d established relative reliability I set about my life with Libre. I loved the fit. The transmitter is circular so it did not catch on clothing. It is extremely low profile, so it did not catch on doorways as a Dexcom on my outer arm tends to do form time to time. And there is no space between the transmitter and the adhesive ring, so there was nowhere for water to sit or fabric to catch. I was pretty thrilled with the fit and feel of wearing it!
And the Downsides?
My dissatisfaction came quickly however when I was about to leave the house. I had my keys and phone in my pocket, my infant son packed and bundled and since I use a pump and a Dexcom that’s usually all I need to head out the door! Then I remembered, THE SCANNER! I set about the house in a mad dash looking for the small black device. (WHY do they keep making these things black?! The single most losable color possible!) needless to say that after searching long enough for my little boy to throw a complete fit about still wearing his coat, I finally found the scanner. I HATE carrying extra things. Small losable things are not going to last long in my life. I have my Dexcom info on my pump, just so I don’t have to carry my phone! So being late to an event because I can’t find my scanner was a big down side for me.
By the end of the second day I had the second disappointment, no alerts. I am very hypo aware and pretty in tune with my body’s responses so I was not scared about low alerts, though many people are. I was more concerned that I either had to keep an eye on the clock to check my post meal blood sugars, or wait until I had a headache from being above 180 to alert me that my blood sugar had not come down as expected. (We all miss a carb count here or there or have pump issues that leave us higher than expected) So by the time I swiped, rather than being alerted within a few minutes of exceeding 180, I might sit there for an hour or more until I swiped to get the reading to let me know to correct. This was really disappointing. My average went up 20 points in a week simply because I was not getting high alerts.
For many parents the greatest thing that a Dexcom gives them is a nights sleep! They no longer have to wake in the night to go to their child’s room and check to see if they are low. But since the Libre no longer gives them a real time alert, parents still have to set the alarm clock, wake up, go to their child’s room and scan them for a blood sugar and hope that they do not enter the room to find the child having been low for too long.
This lead me to what I really disliked about the Libre. Though it fit more nicely on my arm, it did not fit nicely in my life. It made me think about my diabetes so much more! I glance at my dexcom info like most people glance at their watch. In fact, I often am checking the time on my pump and just happen to also glance at my blood sugar. Having to swipe myself like a piece of fruit at the grocery store and listen to the scanner loudly beep at me, made me feel like a sick person taking a moment to tag in with diabetes. Glancing at my pump makes me feel like a normal person tagging in with technology to live my life.
So 10 days later I was back on my Dexcom and actually welcoming the little vibration to let me know I was north of my anticipated post prandial range. The Freestyle Libre is a great tool! But I find this marketing attempt to get people to switch form Dexcom to the Libre a bit laughable. It really feels like a step back for me.
However, since using the Libre I have been reaching out to a LOT of people in my life, previous patients, and patient care environments to recommend the Libre!
So who is a great fit for the Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor?
- Anyone in an assisted care environment who is currently using a traditional glucometer.
Compliance, errors in testing, reduced dexterity, and improved relationship between a person with diabetes and their care giver all make the Libre ideal for these persons! Just after the Libre was approved by medicare I immediately reached out to every care giver I knew of a person with diabetes since this could benefit their relationships by no longer forcing the person to associate caregiver interactions with pain and frustration of fingersticks. I can not over emphasize this benefit.
- Less tech savvy patients
Dexcom use does take a few steps to insert, putting the transmitter in the sensor, getting the transmitter back out of the sensor after removal, and interacting with a receiver or app that takes some amount of technical acumen. This is not ideal for everyone. However the Libre is extremely simple to insert and even simpler to use after that. The user does not have to be bothered with setting lots of possible alerts and repeats and tones. They get the on the spot data they want without the threat of being overwhelmed by info or options, meanwhile providers can still download the full 24 hour data they look for to improve treatment.
- Those suffering from tech/data overload & alert fatigue
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Getting too much data on our blood sugar can lead some users to become overly fixated on their data, their trends, their numbers, endlessly seeking the “good” numbers, or troubled by “bad numbers”. This can be a significant variable adding to diabetes self management burn out. The great thing about the Libre is that it only gives you as much information as you want, it’s not pushy, it doesn’t beep at you at all! No calibration beeps, no alert beeps, not even a sensor out of range beep. But you still get the full 24 hours of data to look back on for analysis as you like.
- Persons with diabetes and sensory disorders
Technology can raise some particular difficulties for persons with sensory disorders (such as autism spectrum disorders) and their caregivers. The sudden interruption of a beep, a vibration, or even a suddenly lighting up screen can be very disruptive. The great thing about the Libre is there is no risk of any sudden startling noises or flashes. The transmitter sits quietly, unobtrusively on the skin and the only interaction with noise or light is when it is scanned.
- Persons with type 2 diabetes or other glycemic control needs without the need for alerts
Many prescribers have persons with type 2 diabetes test their blood sugar once daily, some rotating this time to try to get a more accurate picture. But the fact of the matter is that this is like trying to see Wonderland by peering through the keyhole. Other persons with type 2 diabetes are ordered to check their blood sugar more often but are not getting the data needed to see the cause and effect relationships that drive more effective treatment decisions both by the patient and their provider. These persons have a far lower risk of hypoglycemia or DKA that would indicate benefits of real time alerts, but wold greatly benefit from more comprehensive monitoring.
- Finger stick resistant or phobic patients
Anyone who has a barrier to achieving the number of finger stick blood sugar checks they need in a day, even to calibrate their Dexcom, could clearly benefit from the Libre as it requires no finger sticks after the initial warmup period, and if one were able to overlap the devices as mentioned above fingers sticks can be minimized further.
The bottom Line…
I love giving different treatment options a try. I don’t often find one that makes me want to jump ship from my current methods, but I am always excited to see more options. More options mean that more people living with diabetes will get the care they need, that fits their life! More options also means more competition which drives further innovation and development and that benefits everyone!
My freestyle Libre sensors have a 50% failure rate. I am so sick of calling them for replacements every damn month due to their poor quality control.
HI John, one up side is that oyu can switch to Dexcom at any time, hopefully with far better results.
My own failure rate I under 5%. I am in target zone 85-90% of time , as 78 year old type 2. Jim h.
What is an alternative that works?
My first sensor came off after 9 days – after much back and forth, they replaced it. This one has held up for 11 with no extra tape… did pick up some Gorilla tape just in case.. LOL
Online support is via Facebook messenger – not impressed.
I have been trying to connect the monitor to my computer and use their software – not an easy task – Can you say “NOT User friendly?” I finally got a telephone number for their Data tech support and will contact them tomorrow.
So, What’s a better CGM opition?
HI M.E. I’d recommend checking out the Dexcom G6. It has real time alerts, which are helpful.
It is a little bit more technical to set up and apply,
over tapes are also helpful with all CGMs, especially when we are sweating, swimming etc.
Dangerous snake oil. After several months of us of a number of the sensors (every 14 days), I found that the libre system consistently reports false readings that are 30-60 units lower than the correct numbers obtained with the usual finger stick method.
This is dangerous because users are killed into a false sense of security.
Libre should be withdrawn from the market.
Hi Michael, we found libre to be less accurate than we feel comfortable using for insulin calculation, particularly at BGs under 100 and over 250. Which is really concerning. It definitely has a place in the market where people are not basing insulin dosing decisions off that specific a value, but we caution users. We are hoping that the new Libre 2 system will show a marked improvement in accuracy.
My user experience is not in agreement with your findings . a lot meters have 15%’error. J
Used Freestyle libre for about 6 months I think about 2 or 3 stayed on my arm for 14days the rest feel out. One even had the needle that supposed to go into arm come through the top of sensor? I have called many times only to be told use skin tag. Well isn’t this supposed to stay in arm without using other products. I really don’t like when you call call center only to to be lectured what I am doing wrong. I guess the pharmacist is also doing it wrong some last 2 3 days some last hours. This is a fault in product if the company took the time to read the reviews. Either improve product or remove from the market.
HI Hazel, adhesive issues are probably the second most common complaint about the Libre. users rarely get more than a week of use without using added adhesive or overtaping. It’s unfortunate but the price we often pay for fewer pokes is more tape.
After reading all the reviews I have a better picture and perspective on the freestyle Libre. It’s clear to me the freestyle is a great asset and has contributed to lowering my A1C. That said in addition to adhesive issues other users complained about in my 4 months it’s only happened twice. That said, in terms of accuracy it has a ways to go. Especially when low. I’ve woken to a 42 and the finger stick read 98.in my four months of use I can say assuredly it will be no less Than 20 points off but as much as 75. In seems to be on point when sugar levels are good
A low glucose alert is essential and didn’t know one existed. Abbott does replace faulty ones. However in summary it’s a big advantage over finger sticks, but abbot has much work still to do. Accuracy, length of effectiveness, alerts, adhesive to name a few
My Wife uses the Freestyle Libre and it is fantastic …. when the sensor actually stays n place. She has used the system for about two months and only one of the four sensors stayed in her arm for the entire 14 days. After reading the user guide, during Abbott’s clinical trials, only 71.6% of the sensors stayed on until the final day! After calls to Abbott’s support, I was told to put medical tape over the sensors. What bullshit…..
Very thoughtful and detailed review. Thanks fro spending time and writing it for many Dexcom and Libre users. I used Dexcom G6 for about 4 months before switching back to FreeStyle Libre US14 day sensor in the 3rd week of October after Ambrosia( nightrider blucon maker) announced support for US14 day sensor. Before Dexcom G6 I used Dexcom G4, G5 and US 10 day sensor. I really like Dexcom G6 as it’s more accurate, application is much easier and less painful than G5. Before I switched back to Libre sensor I did a deep analysis and compared Dexcom G6 with FreeStyle Libre US 14 days sensor and Ambrosia’s NightRider BluCon. I could not justify paying 3 times price for G6 relative to FreeStyle Libre. If Libre is used in combination with NightRider blucon, it’s a better product than G6. Why? Because you will get alarms, share readings with 5 caregivers. You can see readings on apple watch without the phone while as a Dexcom user it was still a dream after Kevin Sayer announced it earlier.
we love seeing the diabetes community finding work arounds to make tech work better for our lives. Thanks for sharing, we decided to just review product for product rather than adding the Blucon tech. Add on transmitters can have their own drawbacks as well. In the past there have been issues with reliability and accuracy with their use, and not being FDA approved insurance does not pay toward these transmitters. But Super glad they’re working well for you to make CGM use more affordable.
I have carefully read just about all the reviews on this site. It is obvious that this unit is not ready for prime time as of yet. Abbott has more work to do before they should be permitted to sell this unit. I am surprised that the insurance companies have approved it so easily. Insurance companies should consider re-evaluating their approvals based on what I have read in these reviews. Once Abbott has the problems resolved they should try again. This sounds like a great idea whose time has not quite arrived but will fairly soon be here. Maybe Abbott should include adhesive improvers with the units. They exist and Abbott is in a great position to test them and find the best one. Anyhow, for now, I would not waste money on this product and I would wait until the problems are solved before I got involved with purchasing this equipment.
it’s great that we have options out there, and we are glad to see companies continuing to innovate. There is definitely a great market for the Libre, but it is definitely not a one size fits all product.
I am using the Libre US14 days sensor since Abbott stopped selling US10 days sensor in June this year. From last few days I am using Ambrosia’s NightRider with the US14 days Libre sensor. Surprisingly readings are with 5% of the Libre Reader, just like I am using a real-time Libre CGM with added functionality.
Abbott has emailed and mailed FreeStyle Libre information several times, and sometimes the emails include offers for free sensors. I have worn Dexcom sensors for years. Last year I received a surprise when my endocrinologist, without my knowledge, sent a FreeStyle Libre prescription to my local pharmacy, I never filled the prescription.
I was diagnosed with T1D in 1963 and have suffered from hypoglycemia unawareness most of my life. I recently switched from the Dexcom G4 to the Dexcom G6. So far I am very pleased with the G6 and its freedom from finger sticks. I would never consider using a CGM that does not provide audible alerts. My BG sometimes drops to 40 mg/dL before I experience symptoms. Although alerts can be irritating, I am thankful every time an alert wakes me up at night or warns me of a low while I’m conducting training at work.
Sensor does not stick well. My wife has been on meter three weeks. Have gone through 4 sensors . Using surgicattape to keep on. Company needs to resolve issue
It does not work in the heat, If you perspire it comes off:
I am a 20-year Type 1. No complications at this point, HbA1c’s less than 7 almost the entire time. I dream about getting under 6 but haven’t yet mustered that level of management. I’ve been on the 14-day Freestyle for 6 days now. I’ve been continuing to use my TruMetrix traditional fingerstick meter to compare (not super thrilled with Trividia’s decision to discontinue True Track test strips – one of the best values going but that is another story). Readings have differed anywhere from 3 to 36 points. If there was a consistent differential I can live with that, but there is essentially no consistency. I understand what 1 respondant said about consecutive fingersticks giving varied results, but this is not even close. .Getting readouts with no stick is fun, but is this on anybody’s list of fun things to do???? Particularly when i have no confidence using the data to make eating/exercising decisions. I’ll finish out the 14 days, but unless my doctor has a way I can improve the status quo, I’m done with the Freestyle.
two pieces at work here, the accuracy of the meter, and the CGM. I don’t have accuracy data on the Metrix at hand but I know other True meters are particularly inaccurate. so it could be that your meter is a bit off, and your cgm is right, or both are a bit off it’s hard to tell. But the Freestyle is less accurate than other CGM competition and seems to report even more variably at higher BGs.
here’s an interesting article on meter accuracy
Six days of trial is low. Early bon I walked to and bumped door frame, knocked a few sensors off. J
How many people complain about arm pain?? And does anyone care????????
arm pain form wearing the freestyle? this can definitely be an issue, particularly if one is lean, or having a reaction to the adhesive. If oyu have shoulder issues it would also be difficult to scan the libre on the back of the arm.
I think the FreeStyle Libre works good when it works. My husband has been using it for several months with no issues. However the last 2 he has put on have not activated and worked right. I talked with our pharmacy and they said another customer just had the same problem. They also said there is fine print that says they won’t replace when this happens. So aside from being costly in the first place now they don’t work and the company won’t stand behind them. Can’t keep doing this so unless something changes we’ll be looking for another product.
The limited customer support of the Libre is a BIG limitation for many users, the first time I called on a Saturday and learned they were only opened weekday daytime hours I was appalled, diabetes is a 24/7 life!
Definitely not true. Abbott replaces all faulty sensors or readers.
No, they don’t. I had a sensor stop working. The graph went to “LO” and stayed there for hours. Called Abbott the next day. They asked if I had checked my blood with a test strip inserted in Libre reader. I told them I had checked my glucose level with another brand meter and test strip, which had proven very accurate. I was told they would do nothing about the faulty sensor since I didn’t use their test strip in their meter.
I’m on my fourth sensor. I have the 14-day with the one-hour warmup. I have two specific issues, but neither deters me from using the system. The first is the scanner itself. I typically have to attempt a scan several times before it finally gets a reading. I thought it might be the sensor itself, but it’s done it with every sensor so far, making that significantly unlikely. However, I got the app for my iPhone, and it picks it up first nearly every time.
The second problem is the lows aren’t accurate. They often times read much lower than they are. What I’ve found is any time my sugar is 90 or lower and trending down, accuracy is the worst. As I’m very sensitive to lows and feel them any time my sugar drops below 80. Other than that, it’s always been accurate to within 5-10 points of my meter (Countour Next).
I have not had any problem with the adhesive. For those that have, you might want to look into getting tegaderms. I’d suggest getting the 3M ones. I’ve tried some off brands, such as Walgreen’s store brand, but their adhesive caused a slight rash. I am not typically sensitive to adhesive. You can put them on for just the shower or leave it on. I would replace it once a week if you’re going to leave it on. They’ll protect against water from a shower corroding the adhesive. They will not do anything for sweat, though. That’s where using the Skin-Tac might help.
In any case, I love it and the phone app is nice. There are a lot of things that still need work, but look at it this way; something like this wasn’t available just 10 years ago. At least, not one with this kind of accuracy. I remember back when I had to poke my finger, squeeze out a drop the size of a shot of tequila, put it on the strip, wait a minute, swipe the blood off the strip, put the strip in the meter, then wait another minute for a reading. That was the bee’s knees back in the day. A five-second reading on my finger stick, plus the fact it sends the results to my pump, is miles above what it used to be. Oh, and yeah, the insulin pump. Between that, fast meters, and the emerging CGM technology, managing diabetes, whether you have type I or II, is miles and above today what it was 20-30 years ago.
Kyle–read about your difficulty in getting the scanner to read, I’ve experienced the same problem but I think I have a partial solution:
I read the section in the manual regarding signal interference, specifically the 800 MHz to 2.5 GHz–router frequencies. My first experiment was to place the Freestyle Libre reader on top of my cell phone (using the phone as a shield) and noticed that it read the sensor immediately. Bottom line–I taped a piece of aluminum foil to the back of the reader and noticed a dramatic improvement in response. If I’m real close to my router I still have reader delays but it always works when I use my cell phone as a shield; holding the reader and phone together as I scan the sensor. If this works for you I’d love to hear back. Hope this helps.
I hate this product! I tend to go into the danger zone and no alarms. Still have to set alarms to scan your sugars. I have a bad sensor and go to call in middle of night and cant says to call back between 8am and 8pm eastern time. This is the worst when you can only get a month supply at a time and dont have another one to put on. At least with dexcom they have 24 hour service and a new one in the mail the next day..
wow I did not realise their support was not 24/7. That is pretty unacceptable.
And only 5 days a week.No Saturday’s
Mandi, what did you do before this product? I get three months supply at a time!
Has anyone ever had pain from the needle that does not go away? Does that mean it was attached wrong by me? Doesn’t happen every time but often enough.
This might indicate that you’ve inserted the sensor into or too close to a muscle, this would cause lingering pain. Or you may have just found a spot close to a nerve or blood vessel to cause irritation. If you have any redness or swelling at the site I recommend seeking medical attention as this could indicate localized infection which would also cause lingering pain.
I have had pain in my arms that lasts for about 3 to 4 weeks, I’m wondering how many others have this problem. I have a registered nurse put mine in place
I would recommend before purchase the 14 day Libra a full disclosure so you are not caught with a medical device that can not be returned due to not being accurate. There are several issues that you need to be aware of before purchasing this system.
i started 14 day freestyle in Dec 2018. i love it. initially, it took some getting accustomed to. i knocked off my fair share of sensors. i had mostly wonderful support and replacements; and the suggestion to wear the adheasive bandage from amazon or walgreens . i would toss and turn in my sleep from arthritis pain, and rip on off my arm….most reps are awesome and considerate and have made me continue to trya nd make it work.
i only had one rude free style person refuse to send me a replacement. i had to have an emergency ct scan…. two actually within a week. umplanned so i went through 2 sensors wayyyy too quickly…. he said, more or less… too bad too sad! it wasnt their fault, but mine for needing a ct scan!
I love using my phone to scan. i need no other pouch to cart along! very freeing. i do worry about night lows as there is no warning when sugar drops….. hopefullly our freestyle friends are working on this!
I was frustrated with the Libre 10 day sensors falling off so easily so I quit using them. My doctor convinced me to try the 14 day. The one hour wait time is much better and my old 10-day reader gave me the error “senator not found” about 50% of the scans. My first two 14 day sensors worked well, but that was with splitting a lowes.com tape over then so they didn’t fall off when I exercised and wrapping them before I showed so they wouldn’t fall off as i showered ot dried off. Just put my third senator on and waited the hour to get the message to try again in 10 minutes. After waiting and three off those messages, ot went back to the “scan new sensor’ screen So much money wasted on these sensors! I’m done.
I’m a Dexcom G6 user and tried out the Freestyle the same way you describe. Bottom line: It is a finger stick without the finger stick. Plus, it continuously monitors but does not give you continuous readouts. That’s the rub vis a vis Dexcom G6.
That said, the numbers squared with Dexcom almost exactly as I was wearing both at the same time. And this just in: Freestyle Libre can be used with your Smartphone; so you don’t have to carry along that extra accessory.
Caution: Don’t be alarmed when your actual finger sticks don’t agree with your CGM; they rarely do. In fact, two finger sticks taken within seconds of each other rarely reconcile. And further, different BG meters may apply different types of algorithms to arrive at widely variant numbers.
Thanks for sharing your experience Mike! great observations!
My glucose is always high – never on the low side. I like many, have experienced about 9 or 10 days of adherence. My biggest concern, other than the cost, is the constant false high readings. I have used 4 sensors so far and my readings are consistently 40 points too high on my low end (130 to 160) and it goes up exponentially for there.
I even checked the reader with a test strip and it was consistent with my Contour, wasting another 20 or 30 dollars.
Bottom line – I will be going back to the old way when my prescription runs out. Too expensive and not accurate.
Oh I forgot about keeping the sensor on. I use these and it keeps it firmly in place: https://www.amazon.com/Fixic-Adhesive-Patches-Pack-Waterproof/dp/B07GL6WPZ6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
nice share! thanks!
I’ve had mine for eight days. In Canada so using the 14 day sensor with one hour warm up. The reader reads consistently low, so I am using an app called Glimp. (Android). There is one called Spike for ios.
Glimp was almost dead on to my Contour Next right out of the box. You can also enter finger stick readings to calibrate it. It is pretty dead on. I put the reader in a drawer and will only use it to activate the new sensors. I now have confidence in this system.
I also purchased (but not yet received) a Bluecom Bluetooth transmitter that sits on top of the FSL sensor and turns this into a real CGM. Do a Google for more info. Give the Glimp app a try before giving up. It’s free. It also integrates directly with the Diabetes-M app which is great. I hope that helps some of you.
thanks for sharing great resources.
freestyle locked down the sensor so now it wont work with 3rd party software
I’m new to libri only using for three days and as much as I love the concept it does not read my sugars accurately I’m off anywhere from 5 to 40 points from finger stick. Hoping for Abbott to improve this is wearing it is more comfortable then the dexcom
I must say I love the Libre, especially the ones with a 14 day wear time and one-hour warm-up time. First time I used it I only had about 12 days of wear time. Since I am fairly hirsute I shaved my upper arm next time and had no issues with it staying on for 14 days. It is very close to my One Touch Verio (but keep in mind the CGM has a bit of a lag compared to finger sticks).
I recently had my A1C checked and it dropped from 7.3 to 5.9. I’m ecstatic with this device, it really works well for me. I also travel a lot for work, but I am a member of TSA Pre-Check so that’s not an issue.
I’ve been using the freestyle last bra for 2 months, both the sensors I used this month fell off, the 1st one still had a week left on it, the one today had 3 days left. My insurance doesn’t cover the cost, I pay myself at $114, for each ne, can’t afford that if I’m loosing days. The sensor has also shown I have low sugar when I check by pricking my finger it’s not, it can be out anywhere from 1/2 point up ti to 5 or 6 points. It’s a good idea but can’t trust it to give a true reading, if I have to double check all the time I might as well just st do the finger.
many things can impact sensor accuracy, and the Libre does tend to be more off at lows and particularly highs. If a sensor does not last its advertised wear life you can reach out to customer support for a replacement that they typically ship at no additional cost.
As a new Libre user (only on my second patch) my experience mirrors that of other users. My Libre measures are about 20 to 50 points higher than measures from my finger stick meter. The differences between meter readings also varies randomly, but are typically much larger at high readings than low readings. I find some value to the Libre by tracing my numbers before, during and after long periods of exercise.
I’ve been using the Libre for about two months now and love it. I have the newer version which takes only one hour to wait after applying and lasts for 14 days. I barely use my One-Touch glucometer anymore since the two are so close in measuring my blood sugar levels. Along with my pump, managing my diabetes has become simpler. I’ve can’t remember the last time I had a low and my highs are much less. The Libre shows me the direction my blood sugar is going and I can act accordingly.
I have been using the 10 day Freestyle Libre for 4-5 months. What I have found is the FS Reader differs 20-50 points either over or under (not consistently over or under) from my contour next glucose reader. I have been using several 3rd party android apps that allow for calibration and they helped tremendously. Now that Abbot has come out with a 14 days sensor and no longer work with the 3rd party apps, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to use the FreeStyle Libre system. A range of 100 pts is about as useful as throwing darts on a board.
agreed rw, hopefully those third party apps will be able to adapt to the new libre as well. (look for more info on third party apps in coming newsletters)
Zero for 2 ! 14 days ? First one lasted 7 hours before it fell off. Throw it away because it is now useless. 2nd was placed at 4pm. Gave it the hour (+) that it takes to read. At 530pm it said not adjusted yet wait 10 minutes and retry. At 630 pm it said the same thing. At 730 pm it read – sensor dead replace it. That’s 2 sensors that were a waste of money. Check the manual and they have a 28% failure rate in 7 days or less. So far with 2 sensors I haven’t gotten 12 hrs of service. I called customer service and their story is it’s a.medical device and the do not do refunds (didn’t want that) but they also refuse to send replacements ! Make claims that aren’t true (14 days, won’t come off in shower or in clothes or while sleeping) and won’t stand by their product. I can send both back to them and they can read the actual use hrs. But no. No refund no replacement. Typical business – take your money but don’t stand by product.
Thanks for sharing your experience Tim and sorry to hear about your struggles. There are some tips and tricks to getting any CGm to stick better, and some people find that the size and shape of the libre is problematic for maintaining adhesive as well. Definitely is bad business to not replace sensors that don’t opperte properly in so short a period as it is the industry standard to do so.
I was very excited to try Libre after 27 years with type 1 diabetes. No more finger pricks! I was disappointed and had a serious health scare do to a false reading. I got a reading over 492, average is 140. I took insulin and immediately felt disoriented and sweating. After I took the insulin I did a finger prick and my BSL was under 60. I only had it for a little 48 hours but this is not for me. Misreadings lead to the wrong action on my end with dire consequences.
Libre’s inaccuracy is definitely problematic, we recommend the Dexcom for intensive insulin users. and with any CGm always check with a finger stick before making a big correction to avoid just this kind of issue. Hope everything came out safely.
Libra is junk! I have never got more than 6 days,,, what a rip off
a lot of people have adhesive issues witht he librea, possibly also because of the large inorganic shape of the transmitter.
I just picked up a libre, the warm up time is now 1 hr.
Load the app on your phone & go,
The only thing I don’t love is the accuracy I read about 1pt lower (I’m typically a 4.5 – 5.5) With Libre im at a 3,5.
Been using Libre for about a month. First two sensors showed errors after only a couple days, the third would not register to the meter but my current (4th) seems to be working. Exception is it is giving me readings sometimes 60 points higher than a FSBS. Is that normal?
HI Jim, depending on the blood sugar level the libre can be quite off (Particularly high blood sugars and after lows.
I live in the United States. We were just approved for the 14-day sensors and I picked mine up today. This is my third meter. The previous two were 10-day units. I must say that overall I am very disappointed. From the readings to the quality of the meters to the cost, this device is not what Abbott claims. I’ve used the CGM for one month now. I am on my 5th sensor. The first sensor did not attach properly and Abbott sent me a replacement.
Every sensor after that gave me readings that were between 20 to 40mg too high or too low and no, these were not dynamic readings. Those were had even larger deviations. My newest meter is reading 54mg too high on static readings. I’ve contacted Abbott regarding these readings but they use customer service agents who are non-native English speakers and do not have a decent command of the language. Ultimately, they stated the meters only show trends and do not give accurate instant readings which is really a load of crap. With no way to calibrate these devices, I am using the Abbott test strips and One Touch to get accurate readings. And at 74 dollars a month I will not be using this device for much longer. I want accurate information, not readings that I have to interpolate.
I was diagnosed 24 years ago with Type 2. 18 years ago oral meds were no longer an option and I was forced to begin taking insulin. Since then I take insulin four times a day and test an average of 5 times per day. Have been working to get my A1c lower and have been experiencing lows. Last A1c was 6.6, so it is working. My concern was the lows. Dexcom looked like the perfect option, but without insurance coverage it is $350 per month then there is the periodic transmitter replacement. I have insurance coverage for pharmacy, but they don’t cover CGM devices. I ended up going with the 14 day Freestyle Libre since it was $120 for 28 days.
I began using it October 15, 2018 and used it 50 days. For those with problems getting the sensor to remain attached try Skin-Tac Adhesive Barrier Wipes. The wipe puts a film on your skin then the sensor attaches to the area you applied the Skin-Tac. Using this product made the sensors stick the entire time and never once even begin to come loose. Hopefully this helps those having problems with keeping the sensor attached.
My problem with the Libre is it reads low. It is not uncommon to get a “LO” reading indicating I am below 40. A finger stick reveals I am actually at 65-70 or above. Then sometimes when it reads in the low 50’s it is within 5 points of a finger stick. For me, I can’t depend on it to be accurate.
There was mention above of starting a second sensor before the first one expires and whether or not this would work. It might work if you have two scanners, but then you would have to have two accounts and I don’t think the data could be combined into one report. I was at the end of one sensor and tried this to see what happened. If there is time still left on the current sensor and you scan a new sensor you will get a warning on the scanner telling if you proceed the previous sensor will be deactivated. With the one hour activation that was implemented the warm-up is not as bad as it would be with the 10 day sensor that took 12 hours.
My only experience with CGM has been limited to the 14 day Libre sensors. If not for the cost I would use the Dexcom. The alerts are what I need for night time lows. If the Libre works for you, that is fantastic.
Today, after 51 days using the Libre, I made the decision to go back to the finger sticks in order to get accurate readings. My insurance will also pay 100% for the Livongo meter and strips. The best part of the Libre is no finger sticks, but for me the inaccurate readings were not worth that benefit.
Read several comments but no one stated that Libre readings RARELY match up to a finger prick. I’ve had readings of by 2 to 159 points. How can one trust the reading? I’ve documented all readings since I got it 6 days ago and can’t wait till the dexcom 6 is available for me in February or March of 2019. Been diabetic for 60 years. Is it ever going to be easy?
CGm readings and fingersticks in general rarely match, there is a delay for changes in the blood to reach the interstitial tissue.
also finger stick readings on different meters, different fingers, or moments apart also rarely match. our bodies are far too dynamic for any technology to measure perfectly at this point.
I have been using Freestyle Libra for about 6 months. No big issues, but I wanted to comment on the price of sensors. My Medicare covers 100%, but I noted a comment in this section which said the sensors cost $50. My diabetic supply company is billing over $450 for 3 sensors. I don’t know what Medicare and my supplemental insurer is actually paying, but I’m going to find out.
I will also ask Abbott about use of a smartphone for monitoring. This would be much better than the little black device I must use now.
medicare approved the dexcom app for use by medicare patients last year so libre should be allowed.
I started using the Freestyle Libre 14-day sensors a little over two weeks ago. The first sensor stuck to my arm for the full 14 days. At the end of day 14, I still had to really pull it off- with the exceptions of the edges around the perimeter that started to lift a tiny bit at around day 11 or 12- it definitely stayed attached! No pan, no discomfort, and best of all, no itching (which is what I expected the most). And the sensor only takes 1 hour to activate! I don’t mind if the sensor reads a little high… I’d rather have it read too high than too low! If I think I’m too high, I know to eat healthier for my next meal/snack. And I never get dangerously low. And I’m not insulin dependent.
Thanks for sharing your experience Staci! Libre is definitely a fantastic option for those who are not insulin dependent.
My dad has used 3 sensors, the first one came off in about 3 days. He removed his shirt and it hooked it. So the next time I put another one on and it did not seal the tape only sealed part of it. The third one we put on again worked but on the 3rd day I went to scan it and told me to replace it with a new one. These are not cheap. I’m really upset he lose over $100. He really liked it on the few days he had it on his arm. We even watched YouTube to make sure we put it on right.
I purchased the libre, one draw back was having to wait hours before you could even use it, pretty much 1 wasted day. The other draw back was it was 20 to 50 points higher than my regular finger probs,which is accurate. I will wait for more technology, and for the cost to come down. But it was nice to be able to check your blood sugar level anytime.
FYI, Abbott just received approval for an updated Libre system that only has a 2-hour warmup.
Does anyone else have issues when you put a new sensor on that you are not getting it activated after 12 or 24 hours? This is the second time this has happened to me and it’s very frustrating
I actually have been loving the Freestyle Libre. My blood sugars are now under control thanks to the ease of use. I tried to get a Dexcom but can’t afford the $1500. The libre was much much more affordable. It is costing me about $70 a month, which is stretching my budget but I feel it is worth it for helping keep my glucose levels under control.
I’m on my second sensor, I don’t like it!, It is consistently 20-40 points above my levels when I check my BG. I have called customer service and their response is that it is acceptable to have 20% higher readings with the Freestyle libre. I find it unacceptable.
Funny thing is, I’m now doing more sticks than before, always double checking the Libre reader..
I don’t believe it is worth the cost since I still have to buy sticks too. great concept, bad implementation.
Just wondering is there a cream to numb the arm before u put on sensor .my son has thin arms and it hurts a bit .if so it would make things easier for us .looking forward to hearing from someone that can help me .
There are several options — one is to rub an ice cube on the skin for a few minutes before inserting. There is also a numbing cream called “EMLA”, but it can leave the skin a bit greasy, so the tape might not hold as well.
I have been using the libre for a couple of months now. I am Type I and I love it! No more sticking the finger. I can check it any time quickly and discreetly. I love that. It also tells how your sugar is trending – up, down, or stable. The charts and graphs are very helpful and can be passed along to the doctor. They explain everything without having to play 20 questions.They can also give you a good overview of how you are doing. It also calculates an average A1C. Im not sure how accurate that is, but it gives a reference point to be mindful of.
The only downside I have found is when I work in the yard and get really hot and sweaty, it tends to come off. The folks at Freestyle have been great about replacing the ones that are not close to the 10 day mark.
I did notice at first that the readings are about 5-10 off from my old trusty One Touch Ultra, but Im ok with that. It still keeps me on track. Since I am not a “brittle” diabetic, I keep it under pretty good control.
In other conditions, it holds up fairly well. I have even been water skiing and it stayed on, to my surprise.
I would definitely recommend it!
My husband decided to give this a try. He is a nurse/medic so finger sticks was something he wanted to avoid for himself. He tried 5 applications and the longest he was able to keep a sensor on was 5 days. At $75 a pop, we can not afford to keep up this pace. He tried additional items to keep the sensor on but to no avail. If they could fix the issue this would be a perfect fit for his busy, demanding lifestyle.
Wasnt satisfied with Libre. I dodnt want to trust readings if it was giving 75 to 100 readings from my blood glucose monitor. Tried it second day and I was was sticking my finger everytime because I didnt trust it.
It didnt adhere to my skin if you sweat when you exercise, another 50.00 sensor.
No reimbursements if your disatisfied.
I will let my endocrinologist know regarding the Libre.
I called and talked to Abbot all they could say is that they send another sensor. Didnt know a range that is a good range to be in????
I would think twice…wished I did…
I recently purchased the freestyle Libre and three sensors with three sensor applicators.
I was disappointed that I had to wait 12 hours before taking my first test but since I was going on a three day offshore fishing trip I thought I would get fast results while out fishing.
After 3 days and now on the boat showering I pulled out the arm sensor while drying. Since I thought the sensor would last 10 days I did not bring a backup applicator or new sensor. Now finger stick tests were needed to get blood sugar results.
When I returned home I applied a new sensor arm strip which again lasted only three days. This time I got an error message that said to re check in 10 minutes. After doing this three different times the meter said to replace the arm sensor and I noticed the arm sensor had come displaced.
Using my last sensor applicator and strip I mistakenly pushed the applicator with the arm sensor attached without having placed the applicator on my arm.
Now, I cannot use almost $120.00 of supplies which only gave me six days of results instead of the thirty days promised!
The manufacturer has to come up with a much better adhesive for the arm sensor as I was extremely careful not to dislodge the second arm sensor pad.
I cannot afford to continue to spend $4.00 per day for a reputed 30 day supply when in reality I spent $20.00 per day although the third sensor application was all my fault.
I have several issues with the sensors in the short time that I have begun using the Libre CGM. So, far, 2 out of 4 sensors simply fell off my arm after 2 days. I didn’t bump into anything, they just fell off. When I touched the back of the sensor, it was NOT tacky at all. This appears to be a continuing problem for the Libre sensors. Very dissapointing considering that is takes 12 hours to warm-up for each new sensor so, after it falls off and you insert another one, you have to wait another 12 hours before getting readings.
Another problem as described above, is the the Libre is anywhere from 25- 55 mg lower than the glucose meter. This is a huge variance because it means that your readings are low on the Libre so, when the actual glucose is much higher and you should be taking an adjustment or visa versa when the Libre is showing an extreme low when the actual glucose is well within range. This is not a one time occurrence. It is happening consistently so, for now, I am simply adding about 25 – 30 mg to the Libre reading to determine if I need to do anything.
I am sure that my A1C will be higher next time because of the inaccuracies which is a major concern. This CGM system was supposed to help lower my A1C, not make it higher!
After I use up my 90-day supply of sensors, I am very likely going to switch over to Dexcom’s new CGM.
I definitely cannot recommend the Libre at this time, Abbott needs to seriously fix these problems immediately. What was once viewed as a savior to constant finger pricks is now a nightmare and we know that a fix is not around the corner since they just got FDA approval and only recently began sales for it so, the company is looking to recoup i’ts R&D and marketing costs for the initial launch before it will spend a lot of time and money trying to fix these issues. I hope that I am wrong but, that’s how companies usually operate.
My insurance company wouldn’t cover it unless I was a Type 1 diabetic, but I purchased it anyway. The first patch stayed on 4 days and the second one, two hours. I followed the instructions exactly. So now I’m out $150 dollars, and back to the finger pricks.
Having type one for 59 years I’m always looking for improvements to ease my control of the disease. Right now using a med Tronic 630 G which does not feed the CGM values to anthing other to the 630. Which means opening up your pants going into your pocket etc. the freestyle has worked very nicely but not any less better than the Cgm from Medtronic. And I have been using them for years. I still test at least 2 times a day and the freestyle is pretty close within 5% on each test. It’s not good with the low bs recovery. Takes time just like the CGM. I don’t like the 12 hour delay either we can live with it it’s different it’s easier for me and I’m using it now nothing is perfect as we all now
First set of 3 sensors worked fine. But the first one of my next set of 3 (my Rx gets me three at a time) worked for a couple of days,then started giving me the “reading. it available – try again in ten minutes” message. Pretty much stopped working. Abbott cust support said they’d send me a replacement sensor. So I took off the bad sensor and put on a fresh one and waited the required 12 hours. This one failed immediately (try again in ten minutes). Cust Support said they’d send me another replacement. I have 1more sensor to try before I run out while I wait the estimated 7-10 days to receive the replacements..Will attach the remaining sensor today, but I don’t have very high hopes. These are not covered by my insurance because i’m not on insulin. i’m right on the edge of giving up on the system, but we’ll see…
I am on day 6 with the Libre. it will be the last day. When I started I chose to compare my old reliable One Test Ultra to the ” warmed up”sensor.For the next 2 days the sensor was 40 to 50 points lower. The sensor was 30 points lower than the Libra stick.And there was a 20 point difference when using a control solution. I contacted Libra Q/A and while the folks were very nice and polite had no idea how to explain the differences.Besides the first two terrible connections where I could not hear the lady from New Mexico,the only answers she could give me were clearly scripted They had me change the sensor ( which tells me the sensors are not reliable) and they would send me a new one. So I changed the sensors and the results did not change. I feel the way the product is being promoted is misleading. In their own words you CANNOT rely on the sensor for insulin decisions.You must draw blood before deciding on dosage.
The sensors cannot go thru xray. I am in at least 8 airports per month. Sure I can ask for a special inspection. I don’t want to add another step each time I check in. Regardless of that I have to remove the one I have on. The flat packaging for strips is a good idea compared to the standard round stick container, but they are difficult to open and create additional waste. The idea, or so I thought, is that I could carry a reader, wear a sensor and go thru life without the hassles of kits and blood sticks. Not True. With the Libre I have to do everything I was doing before and more.
This product is 2 years from being ready. Contact me when I can wear a sensor and carry a reader, accurate and reliable enough to make Insulin decisions with, that it can go through an airport without being damaged.
Part of the discrepancy in readings may actually be your one touch meter. This is actually a meter with only 90% accuracy. the accuracy of the libre sensors has actually tested higher. Day one of sensor use is also a notoroiously inaccurate time. Finally CGMs have a delay, so if blood sugars are moving swiftly they will have a markedly different reading from a finger stick. CGM technology is coming along, but it still definitely has some limitations.
As for wearability in the airport, these are all FDA required restrictions put on all worn diabetes devices at this point. (Unless companies spend a LOT of time and money testing their devices through different Xray equipment etc they just have to warn us not to wear them through.)
Thanks for your input!
I tried the Freestyle Libre system for a total of just under 48 hours. I applied the sensor with the detailed instructions given by my doctor and after reading the instructions that came with the system. Washed my arm and let it dry thoroughly. Used alcohol and let it dry again. Used Skin Tac and then applied the sensor. Everything went smoothly, and I was content that I’d done everything correctly. Yes, I placed in the area on my arm as indicated by the instructions. The monitor was easy enough to set up and use. I was actually kind of excited to be able to check my blood glucose frequently so that I could start to see a pattern to the glucose fluctuations. Then today, I kind of felt like I was feeling a little pain in my arm after clearing off my kitchen counters. I examined the sensor and it was still attached properly, so I shrugged and ignored it. Pain dissipated, I went about my business throughout the day. Tonight, I went to use the monitor to check my glucose before my meal, but got an error message saying I should try the monitor again in 10 minutes. So, I waited about 15, just to be on the safe side. Still getting the same error. I was hungry, so I decided to just check my glucose after I ate. That was about 30 minutes later, and the monitor was still telling me to wait 10 minutes. I thought maybe it needed to be charged, so I plugged it in. Another effort later and I still got an error message. Gingerly lifted up my sleeve to look at the sensor and make sure I was moving the monitor near enough to the site. Well, the monitor fell right out. The needle was bent. How, I don’t know, unless it happened while I was sleeping, because I never banged my arm against anything. I can’t afford to have to pay for sensors if they’re going to fall out so easily. Great concept, poor execution. Very, very disappointed. Going to cut my losses before I get too far in over my head.
The 12 hour delay is the worst, and it counts as part of the 10 days also, so in reality you only get 9 1/2 days of usage out of each sensor (at least in the US, everywhere else it is only 1-2 hours from what I’ve read). Hoping the one in the US can catch up to the rest of the world (FDA sucks!).
I found my way here because the freestyle libre website has no section for comments or reviews. I am 19 years old and am on my 3rd sensor. I can honestly say I love it will all my heart. I no longer have to check as often which is my biggest struggle to begin with and i can test as many times a day so it’s usually between 8-15. I prefer this over the dexcom because it is small enough where I can cover it easily and it sits comfortably on my arm as the dexcom looks like it hurts and is very noticeable which for me a college student makes me insecure and I don’t want to announce to the world I have diabetes or get asked unnecessary questions. now I may love it here are the downsides: the tape has only lasted me a max of 8 days but it also depends on how much time you spend in the water, well this week I was on vacation and the website stated it had not been tested in salt water so I decided to do it on my own because I had my meter with me so why not. well salt water makes the take come up wicked fast and lasted me only 5 days out of the 10. I believe a quick fix to this problem would be to add more tape around the sensor to make it more secure and make it easier to apply stuff to make the tape sticky again. besides that love the product but just has a few flaws
Love it other than first sensor lasted 12 days and the 2 only stayed on for 5 days ( don’t have a low sugar spell and sweat it off) not sure if I can afford this
Tried it out for 7 patches.
My endocrinologist advised me it was good as a short term measure but probably not advisable long term – not cost effective.
The patch was supposed to adhere to my arm for 12 days. In all my patch usages I never achieved the 12 days.
They ranged from 6 through to 9days at a cost of A$50 for each patch.
I love the idea of a finger pricking free glucose testing kit & carting around minimal medical stuff. I also love the idea of not being hooked up with plastic tubing to another machine.
I’m disappointed that continuous BGM just doesn’t seem to be convenient, inconspicuous available or affordable.
You might want to check out the new G^ from Dexcom, no calibration with 10 day wear
On free style libre, the 12 hour delay is not big issue with me, I put a new one on 9 pm each night. So for most of wait/ delay hours I am just sleeping. When I awake by often 3 am I will check blood sugar with manual meter once. On the absence of low or high alerts., I think I have read an application for phone scanning of sensor, with alerts is on it’s way. Not sure of available date., but the
libre sensor is most often telling us to double check on high and low double-check, as if it wants us be sure of true high or low. I enjoy not doing manual blood sugar checks 5 or more per day. I find myself using reader as much as 12 to 20 times per day, specific.