Abbott unveiled its latest CGM on October 6th, 2022, the Freestyle Libre 3. It includes an important upgrade. The older systems used “flash CGMs,” which meant you had your phone or tablet close to the sensor to take a reading. The new version sends data straight directly to your smartphone.
It took me over a year to try it. Here are my findings:
How does it work?
The insertion device arrives in a small package and is quite compact. The Food and Drug Administration only approves the Libre 3 to insert into the arm. The insertion was easy and painless.It requires that the sensor be scanned. Then it takes 60 mins to warm up. In the first 12hrs, a blood-drop icon will be visible. Abbott said that the sensor is in the process of acclimating. The sensor can also be checked for accuracy using a blood glucose meter. I confirmed that the sensor was accurate even as it warmed up.
The sensor will stay on for 14 consecutive days. Dexcom G6 gives a reading every five seconds, while the sensor provides a reading every minute. The adhesive held up well and showed no signs of breaking down after two weeks. It doesn’t require a fingerstick or calibration.The tendency arrows tell you if your blood glucose is stable, increasing, or decreasing.
The best part is that alarms are customizable. If you want to silence low and high alerts, you can use the app’s “do not disturb” function. The urgent low alarm can’t be silenced, as the FDA requires.It allows you to keep track of average glucose and time in range. The app also lets you share your data with family members. The app’s reporting feature provides insight into patterns to make dosage adjustments.
CGM Libre 3 SizeIt’s so small I forgot it was even there. To compare, I used my Dexcom G6 nearby. You can see the difference.
It was accurate most of the time. But I found that during rapid change, such as when I forgot to take my insulin after a meal, it became inaccurate, and I needed help keeping up.
I had two compression lows when using the first sensor. A compression low occurs when the sensor returns an incorrectly low reading. One happened while I was sleeping on my stomach, and the other while I was sitting on the sofa and leaning against the sensor. I adjusted the device, and it quickly corrected itself. I made sure that the second sensor was in a better place.
This app could be improved.
You cannot adjust the size of the graph in the app. The range is between 50 and 350 mg/dl. I want to adjust that to make it tighter. Because my blood sugar rarely rises above 250 mg/dl, there is a lot of wasted space.
Also, you can’t zoom into previous readings. Sometimes I like to zoom in on my readings to see how fast they change. Although it does send notifications, Abbott doesn’t yet have an app compatible with my iWatch. Therefore, it is impossible to monitor your blood sugar from your watch. Abbott states that this is something they are looking into for the future.
Libre 3 requires that you have a prescription. This means that the price will vary for everyone. Abbott said that sensors could be purchased for $0-$25 by users with insurance or $70 if they are not. You will need two per month.
Do I recommend it for people with diabetes who are not already using it? However, it all depends on who is using it. For people with diabetes who use insulin pumps like me, the Libre 3 has not been compatible. Abbott claimed it is working with Tandem Diabetes to integrate insulin pumps with insulin and Tandem Diabetes. Bigfoot Biomedical and Abbott also work together to combine their insulin delivery system.
This is a wonderful way to monitor your blood sugar for people with diabetes that rely on insulin injections by hand or who follow a diet to manage it.
Frequently Asked Question
The Freestyle Libre 3 is Abbott’s latest CGM that sends data directly to your smartphone. It doesn’t require calibration or fingersticks.
The sensor is inserted painlessly into the arm, takes 60 mins to warm up and provides readings every minute for 14 consecutive days. It’s accurate and doesn’t require calibration.
It provides tendency arrows to indicate blood glucose stability, alarms that can be customized, and allows tracking of average glucose and time in range.
The sensor is very small and accurate most of the time but may become inaccurate during rapid changes in blood glucose levels.
The app doesn’t allow for adjusting the graph size or zooming in on previous readings. It also doesn’t yet have an iWatch-compatible app.