With a greater need for more reliable, easier to use CGM devices, Abbott is releasing a newly FDA-approved Freestyle Libre 2. While most people are familiar with the Freestyle Libre 1, this new update comes with more opportunities for a better quality of life.
One might ask, what is the difference between these two devices, and is this new device truly a better CGM? The major difference between the two devices is in alerts and alarms. Since the reader in the Freestyle Libre 2 contains Bluetooth capability, it is enabled to establish optional alarms. The alarms can be set for high glucose, low glucose, and signal loss. This is a major advance compared to the Freestyle Libre 1, which does not have any capability for an alarm system. This new setting can be especially beneficial for those who are unaware of their hypoglycemia.
The presence of the optional alerts and alarms in Freestyle Libre 2 might level the playing field in comparison to those CGM on the market which has been sought out for the built-in alarm systems.
Another major question with the Freestyle Libre 2 is about its cost and insurance coverage. Freestyle Libre 2 will not be any more expensive than its first version. For the Freestyle Libre 1, you will need a prescription from your healthcare professional. For Medicare, there is coverage if you note 4 or more times checking of blood glucose daily and 3 or more daily insulin injections. Coverage can also be applied if one is using a Medicare-covered insulin pump and insulin doses need frequent adjustments. However, many of those requirements have been suspended during the current coronavirus pandemic so check.
Overall, the release of the Freestyle Libre 2 is a welcome advance in the CGM market and hopefully will result in better and safer management of patients’ diabetes.