The Abbott Freestyle Libre was launched for sale in Ireland on November 1st. Click here to find out more about the Libre, what it does and how much it costs. And click here for some information on saving money on the Libre. The Libre is a less invasive method of checking blood glucose levels and provides a profile of blood glucose trends in a graph on a reader device for up to 14 days. Representing Thriveabetes, Rebecca Flanagan attended an advance briefing on the Abbott Freestyle Libre with several other members from the diabetes blogging community on October 13th. Hailey who is 16 and has lived with type 1 diabetes for eight years has never used a device this the Libre before. She manages her diabetes on Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) and blood glucose testing on a traditional meter.
Rebecca & Hailey’s Review of the Abbott Freestyle Libre.
in Rebecca's words.
My daughter, Hailey, was given the opportunity to test the Abbott Freestyle Libre before it hit the Irish market for retail. I was very excited about this, having read many other people's testimonies after they bought the starter packages from England. It was amazing to also get the opportunity to see how the device works, in detail, especially how small and soft the actual sensor under the skin is - technology is fascinating! I couldn't wait to get Hailey started. She is very sensitive and has a very low pain tolerance, so after psyching herself up she had me insert the sensor She said it didn't hurt going in, but afterwards there was some residual pain for a couple minutes as her skin got used to the intrusion. After that she hardly knows it's there.
We have not looked back since. The accuracy has been spot on. She is able to see where her sugars are going, especially when she starts to feel a low come on - I think there is a lot of comfort knowing, after treating a low, that the sugars are coming up again and this is clearly seen on the sensor after scanning. Over-treatment of lows are now more easily avoidable. The graphs are also such a blessing in order to see the trends, such as when she usually spikes or might go low. This information is invaluable in trying to maintain the correct insulin levels she needs, especially as she is on MDI.
I think that for parents of younger children especially, this device is a game changer when it comes to night checks - no more waking up your poor child unnecessarily if you don't need to! A simple scan will let you know whether they are safe and in what direction their sugars are going. For times of illness, the Libre will also be amazing.
Although there is quite a high financial burden attached to the Libre at the moment, I would hope that the clinics will see major improvements in the HbA1C's of patients using the Libre and this information will eventually help make a valid claim for the Libre to be included on the LTI. I am very excited for our next appointment! The additional benefits of less invasive blood glucose testing and the discretion the Libre allows are also important, but I think we all know that it comes down to the long term benefits. If we can offer devices like this that will bring about better blood glucose control which ultimately results in less long term complications, then everyone wins.
Hailey's thoughts on the Libre: 'The Libre encourages you to stay more 'in control' because there is no hiding from the readings. As in, with a normal finger prick test, you could KNOW that your sugars are spiking but your reading at the time can be in range when you do the blood test. With the Libre you can easily continue to scan and watch where the numbers are going and take action as needed. Over time you should see your readings become way more level. I much prefer the Libre to regular finger prick tests - and my fingers do, too!'
Hailey also told me that she feels that the Libre encourages more frequent testing. This is a great thing for a mother of a teenager to hear!!
Abbott paid for Rebecca's travel expenses from Clare to attend their briefing but they did not ask her to blog about or influence her opinions of the Libre. Abbott did ask that Rebecca’s daughter try out the Libre and gave her the complete starter pack with two sensors for free.
We also had to agree to not discuss our briefing outside of the room until the media embargo was lifted on November 1st. This was really difficult, I think for all of us as members of the diabetes community and not being able to talk about it with our community. This was really difficult!