The FreeStyle Libre from Abbott Diabetes Care has been described as a ‘game changer’ and ‘life-saving’ in most patients by the authors of an independent assessment of the device.
The FreeStyle Libre is a flash glucose monitoring device that can provide glucose levels and glucose level trend charts that reduces the need for finger-prick blood glucose tests.
People with type 1 diabetes typically need to take between 4 and 10 blood glucose tests per day which represents a significant burden. Unlike the Libre, blood glucose tests provide no indication of whether glucose levels are heading up, down or are stable.
In November 2017, the Libre was made available on prescription on the NHS. Whilst access to the device is highly sought after by patients, local policies as to who is eligible to get the technology on prescription currently varies across the UK.
The review was carried out by Dr Lalantha Leelarathna, Consultant Diabetologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Dr Emma Wilmot from Derby Teaching Hospitals.
Within the review, the authors discuss data from clinical studies, how well received the device has been by users and the potential challenges that patients may face in using the technology effectively.
The authors report that the Libre has shown success in improving HbA1c levels, reducing hypoglycemia, has high user-satisfaction and a low rate of adverse events. The ability for users to use a number of platforms to review trend data was another strength noted by the authors.
The review states that more research within specific subgroups of patients, such as adolescents and young adults are needed to confirm its effectiveness in these groups.
Dr Wilmot stated: “From our perspective, the FreeStyle Libre is a significant advance in the management of diabetes. Many users describe it as ‘life changing’.
“The challenge in the UK is to now ensure that it reaches people living with diabetes. We are delighted that this device became available on the NHS drug tariff in November 2017.”
The article, Flash forward: a review of flash glucose monitoring, is published in the Diabetic Medicine journal.