FreeStyle Libre

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The FreeStyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) by Abbott, which is based on a wearable sensor that can be worn 24/7 for up to 14 days after installation. Unlike other CGMs it does not have to be (and can not be) calibrated with a fingerstick blood glucose test. During the 14-day period it records average blood glucose-readings every 15 minutes, additional spot-measurements can be taken as well.

Versions[edit | edit source]

There are three different versions of the FreeStyle Libre sensors. Version 2 added low/high blood glucose alarms. When setup to include the alarms, these can automatically trigger at specified thresholds without the user having to manually read out the sensor.

Version 3 added the possibility to automatically synchronize the data from the sensor to the connected smartphone without having to manually read out the data through the NFC by bringing the phone close to the sensor. Currently this feature is limited to Android phones and this version of the sensors appear to only be sold in the European Union.

Reading and exporting data from FreeStyle Libre[edit | edit source]

The internal memory of the FreeStyle Libre (version 1 & 2) covers the most recent 8 hours of data, so it needs to be read out relatively frequently to collect complete time series. Data can be read from the sensor either through a dedicated hand-held sensor-reader (which needs to be acquired separately) or through the LibreLink smartphone app if the phone provides NFC reader capabilities. All data is stored in the cloud and can be exported as a CSV file from the LibreView website.

Access to FreeStyle Libre[edit | edit source]

Europe[edit | edit source]

In Europe, the FreeStyle Libre sensors are sold over the counter in pharmacies and can also be ordered online on the FreeStyle Libre website at a cost of ~60 € per sensor.

USA[edit | edit source]

In the USA, a prescription is required to access the FreeStyle Libre sensors. Cost is about $40 - $60 for each 14-day sensor.

Warning: geo-coding of sensors/apps[edit | edit source]

The sensors and mobile apps for the FreeStyle Libre system are geo-coded and geo-locked. This means that e.g. the US LibreLink app cannot read sensors bought in Europe, so buying sensors from Europe is not an easy solution for US users, unless you also have an Apple or GooglePlay account that is associated to an EU country!