A little over a year ago, I unfortunately had to stop wearing my Dexcom due to cost. While a CGM is not a necessity for someone with diabetes, like insulin is, it is so very helpful to keep your numbers in good control. I read somewhere once that it is like a roadmap – it tells you not only where you are, but also where you’ve been and where you are headed. That is so true – and so important to have that information in order to make sure you are taking the correct amounts of insulin throughout the day. And you can adjust your basal rates due to trends of running too high/low at different points in the day (if you are on an insulin pump). Most people with diabetes will agree that they are in much tighter control when wearing a CGM than not. For me, it feels like I’m flying blind when I don’t wear one. So I was a little excited last month at my Endo appointment and he asked if I wanted to try to wear the Freestyle Libre CGM for a while and see how I like it. He said it’s much more cost effective and the only downsides (in comparing it to Dexcom) is that you have to scan it in order to get your reading, and it does not have alarms. An upside is that you can wear it for 14 days.
So I decided to try it and I filled a 3-month supply. My first impression was it did not hurt at all when I put it in. Like at ALL. As in I didn’t feel it at all when I pushed the button to inject it in my arm. There is also no calibration involved. Which in theory could be seen as a plus side when comparing to Dexcom.
However, for me personally, I have yet to have a spot on number from the Libre. It consistently runs 30 points lower than my finger sticks with my meter. And I’ve even tested with two different brands of meters a few times, thinking maybe the problem is with my meter and not the Libre, since it’s consistently 30 points off. There have been many instances over the last week or so that I’ve been over 100+ points off. It always reads lower than my meter. Most mornings it shows I have a low bg when I am in range. So I’m now thinking that if it did calibrate, at least it might improve the accuracy?
When I was wearing my Dexcom, it was so consistently accurate that I had been known to bolus off of the number, even though you aren’t supposed to (we all have done it). To clarify, I would not correct highs/lows based off of any CGM number but what I would do is bolus just for a meal and not add in a correction, like I would with a finger stick reading.
The Libre also has a share feature, where I can add my husband and he receives an alert when I scan the sensor. With my Dexcom, he could see live numbers 24/7 and would get an alert when I dropped below a certain number and could call to check on me (not everyone likes or utilizes that feature, but for me personally, I did and it was a comfort knowing he could see my numbers.)
So my initial review of the Libre is not super favorable. It’s comfortable to wear and is much smaller than Dexcom, and it is way more affordable, but I would rather have the accuracy and I am on my 2nd sensor so far and not at all confident in the numbers I am seeing. It does seem to be accurate in the trends but nowhere near accurate with the number itself. Since I have the remaining 3-month supply, I will likely continue wearing it for a while, but at this point I do not expect that I will continue wearing it much further beyond that.
Disclaimer: my all-time favorite meter is the Freestyle Lite – I’ve used it for over 12 years but my insurance currently does not cover any brand besides One Touch so I’m not able to use my Freestyle. This blog post is nothing at all against Freestyle or Abbott. I know several people who use the Libre and love it. It just doesn’t seem to work well for me, personally. But YDMV.