Type 1 Diabetes

Freestyle Libre Review – a gamechanger for diabetes management?

September 15, 2014
The Chosen Ones

So Friday was a fun day.

When the invite to the launch of the Abbott Freestyle Libre popped into my inbox (lucky thing), I regretfully had to decline due to work commitments. My disappointment at missing out on a new bit of kit that’s got the diabetes world talking (and a free breakfast) was entirely compounded when I realised that long-standing members of Diabetes Online Community Royalty would be in attendance. @sowerbee, @everydayupsdwns, @ninjabetic1 and @grumpy_pumper?! All in one place? These are people I’ve been speaking to (and learning from) for years. I subsequently arranged to say a brief real life hello after the launch, on my lunch break. As I pottered down to Soho, Mike of @everydayupsdwns fame told me they were running late. I thought I’d try my luck and muscle in to the members-only venue, and suddenly there I was, arriving in a whirlwind and gate-crashing the tail end of a talk they’d been having for the entire morning. I’d only gone in to say hi, but within minutes I was bestowed with two yellow boxes by the lovely people at Abbott. The Freestyle Libre was upon me. Oooooh.

The Chosen Ones

The Chosen Ones

What Is It?

The Freestyle Libre is the latest blood glucose monitoring system from Abbott, and it’s had the diabetes online community in an eagerly anticipated spin for a little while. The last meter I test ran as an alternative to my simple but uber trusted One Touch Ultra Easy was the iBg Star, which had all the chat, but seemingly couldn’t quite handle its actual job of measuring blood sugars accurately. To the back of the cupboard it went, my trusted meter was restored and we’ve been living happily ever since, with our multiple finger pricks each and every day, and hardened black fingertips as a result.

The excitable buzz in the room as Laura, Mike, Dave, Chris and Sue (@desangsue) played with their new toys and chatted to the Abbott team got me more than a little eager to rip the packaging open and step into this brave new contactless world.

The Freestyle Libre works in my mind like a medical Oyster Card. You very easily, very speedily, and very painlessly insert a small sensor under your arm which pushes a little flexible filament into your skin and stays there for 14 days. You switch on the accompanying reader with one press of a button, swipe (or ‘flash) it under your arm and bingo, it takes a reading. In one second. No blood, no finger pricking, no waiting, no messing. I felt like I’d unlocked the Matrix.

Now, pricking your fingers and testing your blood isn’t difficult – and in comparison to where we’ve been in recent history, it’s incredible in its own right. But there are many reasons why as diabetics we only test a handful of times a day (if that, at certain periods of our lives… ahem). Test strip allocation, time, convenience, defiance, perceived social awkwardness among other things mean we type 1s generally stick to meal times, exercise and ‘feeling funny’. The Libre quite aptly liberates you of all of these barriers. I must have tested 40 times on the first day, just because I could. The benefit here is it becomes akin to a CGM, or continuous glucose monitor, the holy grail of diabetes control that is yours for a very costly sum. The Libre isn’t the same as a CGM, but instead is marketed as the latest in ‘flash glucose’ technology. Instead of measuring the sugar in your blood, it measures sugar from cell tissue. Yep, it goes over my head too. But it’s freaking cool. Well, as cool as autoimmune disease can get…

In Practice

I’ve now had this bad boy for 72 hours. My initial bewilderment at being able to test in one second, through my clothes, on the move, has not wavered. It’s incredible. The data graph is mesmerising – watching my sugars react to food, exercise, stress – for instance, I went up .5 mmol/l in a minute after rushing for the bus – is outrageously entertaining. I’m geeking out like never before – normally I leave the numbers to other, entirely more capable bloggers. The sensor takes a reading every minute, and every 15 minutes plots the average on a daily graph, which is downloadable in 90 day stints. The sensor stores the readings for eight hours, so even if you don’t swipe yourself for a while, you’re able to fill in the gaps when you do. The trending pattern arrows and daily graph have offered me insight I’ve never ever, in my 18 years sans pancreas, been privy to. Awake, asleep and everything in between – it’s all there in my hand. The danger there is becoming a slave to said graph, and the attempts to never venture outside the self-imposed target range could become quite the mission. Mission impossible of course. But seeing as the graph will fill in the gaps anyway, whether you test 40 times a day or four, I’ve found my thinking to be that I might as well clock it myself and nab the up or downward spikes in glucose levels before they’re fully unleashed. Having that kind of detailed data in front of me is not only allowing me to take control, but it’s persuading me to do so.

Data. Sexy data.

Data. Sexy data.

Look and Feel

The sensor isn’t big or bulky – it’s about the size and thickness of a £2 coin. On insertion, I decided to tuck it way under my arm. This was what I like to call ‘valid vanity’ – it’s my brother’s wedding next week and I didn’t want to be conscious throughout of the (albeit small) white disc showing through the beads on my rather beautiful dress. Placing it so far round means I don’t have to worry at all about what I’m wearing each day – the average passer by just won’t see it. After the first night I had completely forgotten there was anything at all stuck to my body until I was fiddling with my hair in the bathroom mirror and spotted it, just lying there. I cannot feel it; I cannot see it under clothes. Insertion took a minute at most, and it wasn’t in any way painful. The stickiness seems to be holding up just fine, and even I’ve managed not to knock it on anything, despite my constantly bruised limbs (case in point – as a few of us walked back to the tube post Libre, I managed to catch my handbag on a parked bike and send myself flying backwards. A PARKED BIKE). The only disadvantage to having it so tucked away is that I look like I’m conducting some weird test on the odour levels emitting from my armpits every time I swipe. Currently the back of the arm is the only place the sensor is allowed, but hopefully as time goes on Abbott will test more areas of the body, to enable the sensor to be rotated in accordance with the season’s latest looks. Ha.

Casual armpit swipe while waiting for the train? Don't mind if I do...

Casual armpit swipe while waiting for the train? Don’t mind if I do…

The Science Bits

The Freestyle Libre will be available to buy within the next month from freestylelibre.co.uk.

The reader is £48.29 + VAT

A 14 day sensor is £48.29 + VAT

(We are exempt from VAT on medical grounds, but there’s paperwork attached to this)

Or you can purchase a started bundle of a reader and two sensors for £133.29 + VAT.

Obviously we’d all want this to be available on the NHS. The Libre team are currently making their way around hospitals in the UK and beyond, and clinical trials are very much under way. Hopefully after some user testing the Libre will be more widely available –even part funding by hospitals would make this more accessible for those who, like me, can’t stretch to £100 a month for two sensors.

Another hurdle to overcome by the Abbott masterminds is gaining a paediatric licence – something we were told in no uncertain terms they’re ‘actively pursuing’. Currently if you’re under 18, you can’t play Libre. To me this is entirely vital – it really could irrevocably change the way type 1 diabetes is monitored in the young. The parent of a young diabetic would no longer have to wake them to check their blood sugars in the night – peace of mind I’m sure that money can’t buy. And I can’t imagine this sensor not becoming part of pump therapy at some point down the road, so instead of imminently becoming the bionic woman with a sensor on my arm and an Omnipod on my back (soon!), it’s all rolled into one device. If anyone asks, that was my idea ok?

Accuracy

The most important bit in my mind. YOU HAD ONE JOB, iBg Star…

My very first reading matched my One Touch to the 0.1mmol/l. So far, so accurate. Then throughout that first day, as I periodically cross-checked the readings, there were a couple of spikes that were a little bit out. However this seems to have dissipated with each day – my last reading was out by just 0.2, which I’ll happily take. Abbott recommend you still carry a meter with you for back up, and the Libre reader actually has a port for test strips which is pretty handy if you’re in a spot of bother with the sensor for any reason.

The gap hath narrowed

The gap hath narrowed

Final Thoughts…

To me, this thing is marvellous. And not just because I’ve been privileged enough to have been given the kit to trial. There are some cons, as with anything brand new – you can only log doses in whole units for example (unless you have a code that unlocks the area of the Libre deemed suitable only for healthcare professionals – the fact that this exists left a slightly unpleasant taste in the mouth), but with trials and time and testing I can’t see monitoring systems like this disappearing as suddenly as they’ve arrived. I can understand why I’m more dazzled by this than the more diligent bloggers, who have carefully and responsibly experimented with lots of fantastic kit while I run around town leaving my injection on the tube. But for me this is exactly why it wins – the key to getting people to take care of their illness lies in the ease and discreetness with which it can be managed. People are busy and distracted, and many people don’t like to make a song and dance about this thing (she says, waving her reader about like a light sabre across the office). My One Touch stays in my bag until I consciously decide to test. The Libre lives on my desk, much like my phone, so if I see it, I’ll likely swipe because I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to do so. For me, to be able to roll over when my alarm goes off in the morning and test within a second without even opening my eyes properly, or to pull it out on the tube and test without balancing four different components of kit on my handbag whilst inevitably dripping blood onto my white shirt, or to test in the gym after a workout to find out how and when my levels have spiked over the past hour, or to test and see that although I’m running a little high, things are on the way down so WOAH THERE LADY don’t panic and overcorrect so soon… sign me up*.

*As soon as it’s available on the NHS.

Fingertips, rejoice.

 

**Update**

In February 2016, Abbott announced they had obtained the CE Mark for the Libre for children and teens with diabetes aged 4-17 years old. Great news!

47 Comments

  • Reply Mathew Edwards September 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    The blog continues yo be inspirational, taking comedic turns just when I. Need hem. Thanks Jen.
    Reall annoyed at Abbitt that I haven’t had a lifetime’s supply of vouchers for the sensor turn up on my doorstep for my birthday. Ah well, it’s not nitpick Friday so you still have time Abbott… Abbott? Are you there? I said YOU STILL HAVE TIME before 19th.

    PS If you like fashion,beauty, & lifestyle, Company magazine best teen blog nominee is at http://www.LoveFromAnastasia.blogspot.com [cant miss an opportunity to plug my daughter’s creative activities.

    • Reply Alex February 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      It is shameful that a product this expensive which should be free to all diabetics be of such low quality. My sensor systematically falls off every time after 8 days. This is manipulative and deceitful marketing and I am getting a refund for the meter and patches asap.

      • Reply Jill Armstrong February 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Hi Alex,
        Have you spoken to Abbotts? I have been using the Sensors since July 2015 twice a month and I have NEVER had a sensor fall off. I am sure that they should be able to help.
        Jill

      • Reply Martin February 16, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        I have used the sensors for a year. Sure, a few came loose to begin with, usually because they snagged on clothes or through bathing and showering a lot. So I had a word with my clinic advisor and now always put a clear Tegaderm dressing over the sensor which stays put for two weeks. If the dressing comes loose, just reapply another dressing. The dressings were supplied by the clinic or you can buy them from any chemist or Amazon. The sensor glue has also been changed so I have quite a job getting the sensor off after 2 weeks. Don’t give up as my HBA1c is now 6.5 from 8.5. I will now have serious long term health benefits and going back to finger pricking would be a disaster. I only have praise and positives from using this system. Testing whilst driving, cycling,out socialising,skiing up the top of a mountain when my tester wouldn’t work, middle of the night in the dark etc etc.

      • Reply Steve May 31, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        My issue with quality is two-fold but ironically the adhesive is not one of the issues. Firstly accuracy is pretty off for the first few days which I think Abbott should be way more forthcoming about. 14 days actually means 10 or so days of semi accurate readings and even then they were consistently off the freestyle optium meter I have. My second issue is the sensor itself appears to suffer from appalling quality control – my second one stopped working after three days. To add insult to injury, the Abbott helpline is only open when I am either at or traveling to work so is of very little help indeed. I’ll give them the opportunity to put things right but if they don’t then it will be a refund for me. Oh and a prescription change away from their test strips (a small and fairly ineffective gesture but one that might make me feel a whole lot better).

        • Reply Steve June 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm

          UPDATE : having contacted their helpline (for the third time -they don’t seem to want to return calls or emails though) , replacements were duly sent out and arrived quicker than expected (2 days this time as opposed to the three days of the initial order) This is about the only positive I have to report. I applied the replacement sensor last night and lo-and-behold, it’s starting to fall off already. I religiously followed the instructions as the two previous times) I am beginning to think this product has not been tested properly as, out of three sensors applied, all three have been defective – either begun to fall off, failed after a couple days, or just given wrong results for a good portion of its life. Personally, I feel a 100% failure rate is too high.

          • Jill Armstrong July 7, 2016 at 9:11 am

            I have been using FreeStyle Libre for more than 12 months and so far not one failure of any description. The readings are very close when doing a blood test – so far any hypos are not to be blamed on the equipment.
            Having been a diabetic for 45+ years, to be able to get a reading in such an easy non-invasive way(well almost) is brilliant. It also allows you to get a good understanding of the effect of different foods on blood sugar. For driving it is an absolute must. Time it was available on NHS as it uses up my o.a.p!

  • Reply Chris Bartlett September 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Wow – thanks for bringing this to my attention, sounds almost perfect!

    It’s still – like for you – a little too pricey for me, but possibly worth occasional use whilst waiting for the NHS to approve it. Which it surely must do? I imagine the general costs of test strips (certainly the quantity that I use!) is comparable to the consumables of the Libre (about £100 per month from what you say). And its effectiveness/reliability seem to be up to scratch.

    This will be great for me and other adult T1s, but obviously a HUGE benefit will be in paedeactric use – both to the kids and poor parents. My little girl is 14 months, I’m just hoping she never gets diagnosed. But knowing something like this is on the horizon makes it a smidgeon less scary. Hoping it gets approved for kids ASAP.

    Good work!!

    • Reply missjengrieves September 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Chris!
      How are you? Thanks for your insightful comments, I do love getting your comments!
      After two weeks I’ve taken off the sensor and while at first i was quite relieved to take off an attachment to my bod (albeit a tiny one), I’m really missing the ease of swiping so many times a day, and also tracking the patterns. It’s definitely in need of a couple of tweaks but it’s such a great innovation for sure, and yes the paediatric licence really will make such a difference to parents. I think that will be the key for the Libre.
      I feel like I would stretch to buying a sensor every six weeks or so and using the insight for the remaining four weeks of going back to test strips. Certainly opens up conversations with the NHS – hopefully it will happen in time.
      Hope you and the family are well!

      • Reply Chris Bartlett September 29, 2014 at 7:32 am

        Yeah, a ‘referesher’ every six weeks sounds like a good idea – might look into it.

        We’re all good thanks :)

  • Reply home improvement kitchen September 23, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
    get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

    • Reply missjengrieves November 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Hello! Ah I had the same problem at first, SO much same. The one I’m using is just called Anti-spam (if you search the plugins), it’s made life a lot easier. It’s not a captcha one though, but it works! Hope that helps :)

  • Reply Mike October 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Hi,

    Interesting review and summary of your experiances from the trial.
    I miss (not only here but also at the Abbott web) regarding its ability to issue alarms when BS goes outside target values. I evaluated Medtronics GCH in 2006 for 20 weeks and compared to this it looks like Libre lacks ability to wake me if I go to low in the night. I vision my self sleeping with the reader strapped to my arm to get the CGM in real time if necessary.
    The Medtronics GCH also had a delay of 20 minutes between presented BS and BS blood measurement. Whas this the case also for Libre? (Both measures inter cell fluid I understand)

    Mike

    • Reply missjengrieves October 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Hi Mike! Thanks for stopping by. I think this is why the Libre is marketed as a FGM not a CGM (flash gloucose monitoring) as it does not claim to offer the same as a CGM would, including the alarm. I believe those who are used to a CGM may find this lacking on a couple of points; but for me who has only ever had the insight of a few finger prick tests a day, I found this incredibly useful and really quite a revelation. The major plus over a CGM here is the cost of the meter, which I believe would make it more accessible to more people than a CGM. In terms of BS measurement delay, I believe the Libre has reduced this to around 5 minutes. There are a couple of other blogs on this that you may find useful; they dig much deeper into the science of the thing and are very insightful posts: http://www.everydayupsanddowns.co.uk/2014/09/abbott-freestyle-libre-review-bg.html and http://thetangerinediabetic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/new-kit-freestyle-libre-review-part-1.html. I hope this helps! Jen x

      • Reply Mike October 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm

        Thanks!

        Spent all of late evening last night studuing the links you provided. Great stuff!
        I’m living in Sweden, and here the release have been delayed due to “technical issues” (according to Abbott.se support). Price here is about 2.000 sek (£170) for the starter pack of one reader and two probes).
        Have the Libre been released in UK yet or are you pending the same unknown issues as we here in Sweden?

        /Mike

        • Reply missjengrieves November 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

          Hello! Sorry I’ve just seen this – the Libre is indeed available here in the UK to buy now. Lots of the online diabetes community seemed to have been giving it a go which is great. Do you know when the issues in Sweden might be resolved? I’ve been using it this week as I have switched to pump therapy and it’s been so helpful! Thanks for stopping by :) Jen

  • Reply Nikki October 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Enjoyed the review. Get my trial Monday and looking forward to it.
    In the Insulinx meter- looks same as that reader but is Abbotts bolus advice meter, one the actual meter you can only set it in whole units, but when you hook it up to the computer you can change it to 0.5units. Don’t know if this is similar that there are more setting options that can only be accessed by connecting to computer?

    • Reply missjengrieves October 8, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Hello there! Oh I hope your trial is going well how are you finding it? The Abbott team told me there is a 0.5 unit option but it has to be ‘unlocked’ by a healthcare professional with a code. That jarred with me a bit – that there are bits of (useful) kit on the Libre that only professionals can access although we’re the ones who deal with our diabetes every single day. But there you go. I found the Libre to be so insightful – a real advance for me in terms of my care. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply Eunice October 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Hello!
    Thanks for good info.
    I live in the states so i think better visit UK to get them.
    Have the Libre been released in UK?
    Could you please keep me posted

    • Reply missjengrieves November 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Hello! Thank you for stopping by, yes it’s been released here, lots of diabetics on Twitter have been buying it and giving their feedback. It is a great advancement in monitoring blood sugars, I would test up to 40 times a day, just because I could – it’s so convenient and quick. Has been super helpful this week as I have moved from injections to pump therapy – so lots of testing needed! Jen

  • Reply Jen November 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m very interested in trying the Freestyle Libre but am not in the UK to purchase one. I’m currently in Malaysia & have contacted Abbott here & confirmed the Freestyle Libre is not available. My husband has relatives in the UK so I’m hoping they can make the purchase for me & ship it my way. I’m just wondering if you know if there’s a way to receive the VAT back? The machine & sensor are costly enough, add on shipping & it’s going to be a pricey purchase so I would be happy if I could avoid the additional cost of the VAT. Any thoughts?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Jen

  • Reply Martin Halliday January 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Hi
    This is my first visit to your page. I have been Type 1 for 20 years.
    I have found that I cannot buy the Freestyle Libre from their webpage for two reasons.
    Firstly they have ongoing software issues as advised by their customer support.
    Secondly they have no stock and there is no way of telling me when it may be available !!
    This is very disappointing so I have found another option.
    I can get a free upgrade to my current One Touch Ultra Easy meter and replace it with either the Verio or the Verio IQ. The latter IQ does much the same as the Freestyle Libre in showing trends and graphs and average HBA1c levels over a long period. The benefit to me is that this is free on the NHS. I also got a second IQ meter for free as a spare.
    The cost of the Libre is quite excessive. £1506.00 PA for sensors not counting any sensors that fail early or drop off for a number of reasons. Swimming, active sports, adhesive failure etc etc. How do we know that free replacements will be sent for genuine reasons? Has anyone had any issues regarding the sensors not lasting 2 weeks and trying to get a replacement or discounted replacement?
    If they currently have no stock of either the meter or sensors, then this is an immediate problem for current users.
    If anyone knows when the Freestyle Libre will be available, I would appreciate knowing so that I may give it a trial.
    The ultimate result would be for it to be free on the NHS as I’m sure it’s a cheaper overall option than all the test strips used in a 2 week period.
    Martin

  • Reply Martin Halliday February 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Hi
    As a follow up, as of today February 2nd 2015, the Freestyle Libre system is still unavailable. They must be having really serious issues with glitches and production. Brought to market too soon possibly? All very disappointing.

    • Reply Martin halliday May 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      As a further follow up, it is now May and after 5 months I’ve received an email to say that I can buy the starter kit.
      An immediate problem is that so many questions remain unanswered by Abbot about replacing failed sensors or ones that drop off through no fault of the user. At over £4 per day to use this is hugely important.
      The next big problem is only allowing a maximum of two sensors!! I travel abroad very often and need more than two. What do you do ?? It’s really a hopeless situation by Abbot to restrict the amount so severely.

  • Reply Jill Armstrong March 26, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I was so excited about Libre and so disappointed that despite Abbotts claims that it will be available again early in the New Year that we are almost through the first 3 months and there is no explanation, as to the issues that are causing the delay in this product becoming available.
    Apparently it was oversubscribed but is that really true?

  • Reply Jo April 15, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I use the Libre and absolutely love it, problem is I’m developing a reaction to the adhesive they use on the sensor. Any suggestions of anything I could use as a barrier between my skin and the sensor or my Libre days may be over :-(

  • Reply Martin Halliday June 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

    My experience with the new Freestyle Libre system so far has been very disconcerting.
    I have found that the readings are consistently between 1 and 4 units below my blood test results on two different meters.
    One morning the sensor reading was 2.8 ! Odd as I didn’t feel hypo. My blood test meter read 4.9. Normal. The help line said that if I lie on the shoulder that my sensor is attached to, it squeezes the tissue and gives a false reading! Not great or detailed in their information.
    The sensor became loose after 6 days and fell off on the 7th. The help line kept me on hold for a long time, then took about 20 minutes to detail serial numbers from the sensor and reader and a whole bunch of other questions before agreeing to send a replacement. They also need the old sensor returning.
    I also experience burning around the sensor when using my arm muscles. I have very little body fat and again this is a recognised issue not detailed by Abbot as the sensor needle is interfering with muscle tissue.
    The sensors take a full week to arrive from ordering. Not what you would expect in this day and age, especially when used to next day free delivery from Amazon!
    What they don’t tell you is that you cannot stock sensors say for example if you go abroad for a while and would run our. Also if you add up the very expensive postage it totals around £120 per year ON TOP of the very expensive sensors.
    The starter kits were not available so I was charged £11 more to order individually !!
    I complained and got an eventual refund.
    My scanner is already badly scratched as made out of cheap plastic. Any items in your pocket can damage it.
    Lastly if you want a way round unavailability I would suggest setting up a second ghost account so extra spares can be bought if needed. There is no end in sight for the current rationing and new clients are still on the very long waiting list. I was waiting for over 4 months.
    So….. Very mixed feelings and cannot decide if the huge cost is required or affordable. There are also a lot of questions about the reliability of readings and the sensor staying stuck to your arm.
    One of my big gripes is that urgent emails to Abbot about serious concerns remain unanswered form a full week ago. I received an email to say received and promised a reply within 48 hours. Not so and wholly unacceptable!!
    I will prevaile longer and report again soon.
    Martin

  • Reply Jan Thornton August 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I am having huge problems with the adhesive on the Libre. So far over a 3 month period only 1 has lasted the full 14 days. Does a yone have a solution?

    • Reply missjengrieves October 6, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Hi Jan, thanks for your comment. I didn’t experience this but I know a few people have, apparently it varies from skin to skin. I know a lot of people use extra tape for their CGM sensors etc, but I’m not sure of any specific names or brands as I don’t have this issue. There are lots of type 1s on Twitter you may be able to ask there? x

    • Reply Simon Razzell August 7, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Hi Jan,

      I expect you’ve solved this by now but if not:

      Torbot Skin Tac Adhesive wipes. (They do a free sample pack but you pay the postage).

      You wipe the skin with these before applying the sensor and it adds an extra stickiness. I was put onto these by Abbott.

      Good luck with it if not already resolved.

      Simon

  • Reply laila November 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

    i have a problem with the readings. It is my first time usage
    but their is a big differance between finger measuring and the freestyle one.
    The sensor reading was 2.4 ! but blood test meter read 5.2

    second Q, why it is allowed for minimum 18 years old, can i use for my 10 years old daughter?

  • Reply Anne marie Kelly December 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I have had x 2 sensor errors . when I remove the applicator the needle is still present , anyone else having this problem ?

  • Reply john osborne December 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Dear readers if anyone has had a positive result from using the freestyle libre I am of course delighted, however my experience has been far from positive, in fact its been near fatal. Since taking delivery of the unit, I have tried three sensors. All three deliver inaccurate results when compared to my original accu check mobile and also when using the libre as a conventional blood reader. All the results from the sensor are higher by at worst 7mmls and then swinging to 2.2 mmls lower. The resultant reading from sensor 1 gave rise to me having two massive hypos, as I based my insulin dosage on the readings. I only realised the readings were inaccurate when cross checking with my other unit and the libre via normal finger prick methods. This was advised by customer care, but nowhere have I seen this on the instructions and If that is what we are supposed to do, then the whole point of having the unit is negated. I have tried three sensors so far and they are all different, reading higher than actual and are in consistent. One test shows a rise, 5 mins later shows a fall, then a further test showing another rise.
    I am now on medication for my hypo attack which has still not subsided and has left me feeling angry, disappointed and very unwell.
    I urge anyone wishing to use this product to do so with caution and ALWAYS run a conventional test method simultaneously. A nice idea, but it can’t be relied upon
    Good health

    • Reply Jojo January 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      My experience with the Libre was always positive. They were all extremely accurate and gave me a wonderful insight to food:sugar levels and was an eye opener to see how I faired inbetween meals. My only downfall was reacting to the adhesive which burnt my skin after about 6 months of use.

      • Reply John osborne February 3, 2016 at 8:29 am

        Hey Jo Jo
        You have had great results. I only wish I had the same experience.
        Hope it all lasts

    • Reply Jill Armstrong January 12, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      I am very sorry to hear John’s experiences. I have had my Libre since July last year and my first experience was using it on my holiday in the States. I did test the readings with those from my glucose meter and it seemed that Libre results were slightly lower than the actual reading. So far I have not had a bad experience from the Libre results and I have used it EVERYDAY since the 19th July 2015. I am sure that there are improvements that can be made. But the experience of being able to see how your levels are throughout the day, the effect of various foods, the ability to easily see if you may have an issue with driving cannot be over-emphasised. The most important thing from what John has experienced is to check your sensors against a blood test; if you don’t feel how the level shows do a blood test. I am one who had a disastrous experience with a blood test machine where my level showed at 7.8 and I had a hypo. These machines are only good if we take responsibility and acknowledge what our body is telling us.

      • Reply John osborne January 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Hi Jen/Jillu
        Naturally I’m delighted if the libre works for you
        I brought it so I could see how I fluctuated through the day, with exercise and with different carb intakes.
        It was so variable it became worse than useless.
        The only thing I did get from it was how my body changed in glucose readings after I woke up.
        I was checking my bloods every 5/10 mins so I could get a better idea but at a snapshot I was 8. 5 mins later I was 9.5, the 5 mins after that 7.5. which didn’t help at all.
        Finally,the feeling of a hypo I get if I come down from a high and not just falling under 4.
        I know not to respond to the feeling but rather take a reading.
        The only machine that worked brilliantly for me was the CGM unit when I trialed a unit I managed easily to get a flat line with 100% no change at my level 6mml over a weekend.A brilliant unit but sadly too expensive for me

        • Reply Jill Armstrong January 13, 2016 at 12:36 am

          Hi John – I am so sorry that our experiences are so different. I just wonder if it is worth having a word with Abbot just to see if there maybe something wrong with your machine. I have always been fascinated when I wake up in the morning and can see the line for how my glucose levels have been overnight – it seems that you are not having the same. I bowl and so far since I have had Libre my control and perception of what has happening has been much better. It is a shame that our experience is so different. I am sure it won’t be too long before we will have a watch that shows our blood sugar reading! Best of luck keep well.

  • Reply john osborne December 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    The freestyle libra is appalling, in myn honest opinion and the readings that I have experienced are inaccurate, inconsistent and so far out that I have had two massive hypos which I still recovering from . Customer service is nothing short of disgraceful and I urge anyone using or considering this product, to always run a conventional blood finger prick test alongside the readers results, or you may end up like me.
    You may be lucky and I hope you are, but after waiting a ridiculous amount of time for delivery, I am sending the units back for a full refund and i may even consider seeking compensation.
    Assuming customer services can deal with the claim satisfactorily.

  • Reply john osborne January 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    the freestyle libre however successful people are finding it, is a potentially dangerous unit.
    the readings are consistently inaccurate and inconsistent.
    one times higher than real time the next lower. its any good if it is accurate.blood sugar readings are the only true readings not interstitial fluid readings, IMO.
    i waited for over a year and mine is going back asap
    use with extreme caution

  • Reply John isborne February 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Sorry to hear you’ve had a disappointing experience similar to mine.
    I haven’t had time to generate a refund but I will.
    On an interesting aside, I have been using Turmetic (cur cumin) as an aid to my insulin. The results are remarkable and have reduced my readings significantly and seem to stop me spiking my readings.
    Check it out
    Kindest
    John

  • Reply Jill Armstrong February 16, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Good news FreeStyle Libre is now available for youngsters and you can purchase more than two Sensors at a time so the rationing is over.

  • Reply Mark February 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Just wanted to add my two pence on this article and the product.

    I’m 26 and have had type one since I was 4. I have never had a piece of diabetic kit (be it testing or medication) that has changed my life like this product has. I have had it on 4 days, my glucose levels are noticeably better, my stress levels (around hypos and simply not knowing what my glucose levels are) have plummeted and just knowing what my levels are doing at all times is just mind blowing.

    I am going to find a way to fund this, NHS or no NHS. Hats off to Abbott! This is an incredible piece of kit.

  • Reply Glen Freeman March 7, 2016 at 12:24 am

    #freestylelibre genuinely awful service from @AbbottDiabetes. An innovative idea with no competitors is no excuse for faulty products and appealing customer service.

    Went through 3 metres, 5 sensors and hours of telephone calls do get this sorted and what do Abbott Diabetes Care offer me? Not so much as an apology.

    Their call centres feel like a bunch of people with exceptionally poor English going though a checklist and not actually listening. Seems like if its not on the form they don’t understand it.

  • Reply John Osborne March 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad experience. I was beginning to think it’s just me. The idea of the unit us brilliant but only if it works. Mine didn’t same dreadful customer service so my unit and an unused sensor is going back when I have the opportunity
    Best

    • Reply Glen Freeman March 7, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Lol just realised I wrote appealing rather than appalling customer service and metres rather than meters. Lol. It wast about 12:30 am.

  • Reply Debra April 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I have found the code on an online forum if that helps – I nearing the end of my medical school training and the clincher is that I live in NZ and we don’t get much (or any) support from Abbott as it is still unavailable here! Let me know if you would like it :)

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