Feeling Free with the FreeStyle Libre 2

October 7, 2020
Savi Chahal
UC Davis
Savi Chahal is the president of the UC Davis chapter of The Diabetes Link. Currently majoring in clinical nutrition, Savi has plans to attend law school in the near future. Outside of the academic world, Savi enjoys spending free time with her pets -- and cooking.

Diabetes is never easy. It feels like that thing that’s constantly on your “to-do-list.” You can never seem to check it off; for some reason, it can’t be finished. One thing or another always seems to get in the way: you either get busy, tired…or forgetful from being busy and/or tired. It seems like a never-ending circle. A CGM (continuous glucose monitor), however, makes all of this just a little bit easier! It continuously monitors your glucose and shares all the data with the given reader. It allows you to have a much better grasp on your diabetes and overall health, provided you use this device to your physician’s instructions.

“I have tried many different tools for tracking my glucose levels, and the FreeStyle Libre 2 is by far my favorite.”

I have tried many different tools for tracking my glucose levels, and the FreeStyle Libre 2 is by far my favorite. Before I continue with my opinion, let’s cover some of the basics: what it comes with, how it’s used, and its costs.

What’s included: The FreeStyle Libre 2 comes with a reader, a wire to charge the meter, a USB wall charger, and, of course, the instruction pamphlet. Your sensor comes in a separate box with the applicator and further instructions/tips.

Set-up: The applicator is quick and easy to use. You simply need to insert the needle into the applicator and then place it onto your chosen spot – since the sensor is already in the applicator. It is highly recommended that you place it on your arm. Once placed and inserted, you can move onto setting up the meter. The screen will give you an option to Start New Sensor. You simply click that, and, in one hour, the reader and sensor will be yours to use for the next 14 days. The entire set up – from insertion to reader set-up – should take less than ten minutes! Taking your reader, you gently place it on top of your sensor; the monitor will “catch” the current glucose…and bam! Your reading will show up on the screen. You must keep the given reader with you as that is the only way you will receive your glucose reading (a mobile app is under FDA review right now).

Cost: For me, the cost of the FreeStyle Libre 2 was around $130-$160 for a first-time purchase that included the reader and two sensors. After that, it’s been around $40-$75 for the sensors. Compared to other CGMs, this is fairly “cheap” for out-of-pocket costs. It is covered by a lot of private insurance plans. Since it is new-to-market, as always, make sure to check in with your diabetes team on the best financial option for you.

Personally, this is the only CGM my private insurance currently covers. As a “broke college student,” I can’t afford to purchase a CGM out-of-pocket. So, I spent a whole year pricking my fingers and using my blood glucose meter. The FreeStyle Libre 2 was an easy adjustment, especially when compared to pricking my fingers again.

“One thing I really like about the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor is how slim and small it is when compared to more bulky CGMs I’ve seen.”

One thing I really like about the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor is how slim and small it is when compared to more bulky CGMs I’ve seen. It’s flat and does not cover much of your skin. It’s also very light; you don’t feel it, even when sleeping on top of it. I used to worry about what I might do to my previous CGMs when I was trying to sleep, adding an extra diabetes stressor. Now, I can sleep worry-free!

Unfortunately, however, there is no mobile app for this sensor because its currently under FDA review. Right now, there is no date for when it will be launched. Being able to see one’s numbers on the phone is an incredible luxury and beneficial to the user. However, I’ve found out that, if you carry the reader around with you, it’s not a big issue. You do have to carry a bag around with you, though, which can be a bit annoying. The other con I should mention is that the sensor doesn’t pair to your pump. While I’m okay with inputting my glucose manually into my pump, I know others may not be!

If you prefer something less noticeable, the FreeStyle Libre 2 is a good option! With some time and patience, the mobile app will push this CGM to the top of the field. I personally cannot wait!

The Diabetes Link works with a wide array of companies to ensure that the young adult voice is heard across the diabetes sector, and so that young adults are aware of all of the options that are available to them. Abbott (maker of the FreeStyle Libre 2) is a Corporate Member of The Diabetes Link.

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