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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre: A new painless way to manage time in range for diabetes patients

For now, Indian patients will be able to see the data from the reader on the device only. Abbott is expected to launch its software to collate this data on smart devices in 2021.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: November 8, 2020 10:22:38 pm
Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, single use diabetes monitor, kalyan sattaru, FreeStyle Libre reader, gadgets for diabetes patientsImage credit: Thirunavukkarasye-Raveendran/Wikipedia creative commons

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, which helps diabetes patients keep within the recommended glucose levels continuously without pricking is now available in India. Continuous glucose monitoring helps diabetes keep their sugar levels in range, which can be detrimental in preventing serious complications. This ‘Time in Range’ is between 70 and 180 mg/dL and should never be beyond this range for more than 75 minutes a day, as per recommendations for Indians.

Priced at Rs 5,500 for the monitor and Rs 5,000 for the single-use sensor which works for two weeks, the Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre is ideal for Type 1 Diabetes patients for regular monitoring and for occasional monitoring in Type 2 patients. The sensor measures glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a small (5.5mm long) filament that is inserted just under the skin and held in place with a small adhesive pad.

Kalyan Sattaru, GM, Abbott’s diabetes care business, India, said with the FreeStyle Libre reader diabetes patients can now check the impact of their diet, the direction of glucose levels and glycemic index in real-time by just scanning the gadget over the sensor and without pricking your fingers.

“The Libre reader is a multifunctional device. Whatever data it has captured from the sensor over a period of eight hours, it actually analyses and puts it into some three, four very useful analytics, which helps the person with diabetes have an effective conversation with a doctor, even if it is over a telephone considering we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Sattaru explained. Abbott also has a Libre Pro model which is for user by medical professionals only.

Earlier this year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) had endorsed the use of Ambulatory Glucose Profile (AGP) or Time in Range (T1R) report to be integrated into the management of all types of diabetes.

“While the traditional HbA1c is very useful in deciding the success in diabetes care, it is only an average of three months’ blood glucose values and does not give an idea on the direction of change of glucose or the duration which is spent in normal, high or low glucose levels,” explained Dr Jothydev Kesavadev. His Thiruvananthapuram-based Jothydev’s Diabetes Research Centre had come up with the first-ever research from India on T1R and its correlation with HbA1c. “The new reporting system will certainly help prevent the serious complications and death in a greater number of subjects with diabetes,” said Dr Kesavadev.

Sattaru said the reader shows the time in range, as set by the health care professionals, as well as the number of hypoglycaemic episodes. “The reader also functions as a blood glucose strip monitor and a blood keto strip monitor in addition to the sensor,” Sattaru said. Since using the sensor all then time can be an expensive proposition, the strip monitor can be used in the intervals when the sensor is not being used. Plus, the readers also shows a digital logbook, an insulin dosage calculator and average glucose levels for seven, 14, 30 and 90-day periods. “The reader stores the glucose values for up to 90 days, the sensor for eight hours,” he said.

For now, Indian patients will be able to see the data from the reader on the device only. Abbott is expected to launch its software to collate this data on smart devices in 2021. Sattaru said they expedited the launch of Libre in India given the pandemic and the convenience of managing diabetes remotely. Once the digital ecosystems are launched, he said, “the sensor results can be directly loaded onto the mobile phone into the cloud, and can be viewed in real-time by the doctor or the caregiver of the person with diabetes”.

FreeStyle Libre has been recommended for use in Type 1 patients above four years and also for those with gestational diabetes. Sattaru explained that realtime monitoring is helpful for patients to understand how their body processes certain foods and use that knowledge to manage their levels in the future. “This drives a behavioural change, whereby we have seen a HbA1C reduction of almost 1% and a reduction in hypoglycaemic events. We also seen an increase in time in rage which as a result has delayed hospitalisation.”

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