One hour after applying the sensor, the system is ready to work. The sensor takes a glucose reading every 60 seconds. A stand-alone reading device remotely captures and logs readings on demand. Then you can see the results individually or see the trend of glucose levels over time.
To obtain a reading, we will place the reader 2 centimeters from the sensor. We can scan the sensor as often as we like, but it is recommended to scan at least once every eight hours. The sensor can be used for a maximum of 14 days and stores the results for 90 days. After 14 days, the sensor stops working and needs to be replaced.
Price and availability
FreeStyle Libre systems are available in pharmacies with prescription. The price of the sensor is around €54 for the FreeStyle Libre 2 and €108 for the FreeStyle Libre 2 starter kit. The reader is free if you download the app on your smartphone.
For people with private insurance, it may be a bit more affordable. Additionally, the FreeStyle Libre system uses test strips called Precision Neo test strips for fingerstick testing. A box of 50 individually wrapped strips costs around €20. Using other test strips with the built-in meter may cause an error.
Aside from ease of use, the FreeStyle Libre is lower in cost than other glucose meters on the market.
Non-prick glucose monitoring devices like the FreeStyle Libre offer advantages over traditional fingerstick monitoring. Studies have shown that people with diabetes who test their blood frequently have more stable glucose levels. They also have a lower A1C, which is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Devices of this type are also better for prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), including nocturnal hypoglycaemia. With the FreeStyle Libre system, you don’t need multiple fingerstick blood draws each day to make sure your glucose stays within the normal range.
In addition to being more convenient, the device is painless. This can motivate people to take their glucose readings more often.
Another unexpected benefit of the FreeStyle Libre system is that it appears to reduce the cost of diabetes care. This meter reduces the annual cost of health care for people living with diabetes by more than 50% compared to finger-stick test users.
It is also convenient for travel, work and other instances when we are on the go. We can also track glucose trends on our smartphone through an app after purchasing the system (available with some models).
Also, the sensor is waterproof for short periods of swimming and bathing in a few meters of water. This can give us data on insulin when exercising in a pool.
However, the FreeStyle Libre system has some limitations. Among them, the original 14-day FreeStyle Libre is not equipped with an alarm function and may not be the best option for people unaware of hypoglycemia. This is a condition where people don’t realize when their blood sugar levels have dropped severely.
Although this needle-free glucose machine was about 92% accurate in studies, sometimes inaccuracies. This can happen when there are rapid changes in blood glucose, such as after eating, injecting insulin, or exercising. Severe dehydration can also affect the readings.
Because of this, the Libre FreeStyle reader has a built-in blood glucose meter. This allows you to perform a fingerstick test to ensure that your glucose measurement reading is accurate. This is especially helpful if the diabetic says their glucose levels are too high or too low.
The FreeStyle Libre sensor is waterproof, but should not be submerged for more than 30 minutes. Unused sensors can be stored at room temperature in a dry place.
There are also people who report that it can cause irritation at the sensor insertion site. Perhaps it is a great disadvantage for those who do not want to be pricked.
Who should use it?
The FreeStyle Libre brings the freedom to take frequent blood samples throughout the day via finger pricks. It may be easier to use if we have to travel. This non-prick glucose meter is also waterproof for up to 30 minutes continuously, so we don’t have to worry about the sensor being destroyed after a quick swim, shower or bath.
However, this blood glucose monitor may not be suitable for all diabetics. Because there are concerns about accuracy, your doctor may recommend a traditional blood glucose monitor if your condition causes frequent spikes or drops in glucose.
We may also consider having a backup monitor with traditional blood tests in case you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia that the FreeStyle Libre does not display. Keep in mind that FreeStyle Libre not approved for people on dialysis or pregnant women.