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This article was written by Amanda Ciprich, MS, RD. Last updated on 11/27/23.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems have changed the game for millions of people with diabetes by offering an easier, more insightful way to manage blood sugar levels. If you're curious about this game-changing technology, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we'll provide concise answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System. We are covering everything from the basics of how it works to practical considerations like removal, availability and cost.
Frequently Asked Questions About FreeStyle Libre 14 Day System
What is FreeStyle Libre 14 Day
FreeStyle Libre 14 Day System is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that is composed of the FreeStyle LinkUp App and a glucose sensor worn on the back of the arm. This sensor continuously monitors glucose levels in the interstitial fluid, offering real-time glucose readings. The sensor can be worn for a maximum of 14 days.
How does Freestyle Libre 14 Day work
A tiny sensor, about the size of two stacked quarters, is attached to the back of your upper arm by the FreeStyle Libre system to measure glucose levels.
The FreeStyle Libre system provides the following information with each scan:
- A glucose outcome in real-time.
- A trend is going back eight hours.
- A trend arrow points in the direction that the glucose levels are moving.
People can monitor their glucose levels over time using the touch-screen reader to store up to 90 days' data.
Can I take the sensor out on my own?
Yes, you can remove the sensor yourself when it has expired. At the end of the 14 day sensor lifespan, the reader will lose its ability to read glucose levels. To remove the sensor, lift the edges of the adhesive tape. Gently lift the edge of the sensor's adhesive with your fingers. Start peeling it away from your skin slowly and at a shallow angle. Try to peel it parallel to your skin to minimize pulling. Some individuals prefer using adhesive removers to assist with the removal process.
Where are FreeStyle Libre sensors available
FreeStyle Libre sensors can typically be found in local pharmacies, online outlet retailers, and medical equipment distributors. To ensure the most cost-effective method of obtaining these sensors, individual users are encouraged to get in touch with their health insurance provider to determine their preferred supplier.
What is the monthly cost of the FreeStyle Libre 14 day System?
Most commercially insured Libre users pay no more than $75 per month. However, out-of-pocket costs may differ amongst individuals. Contact your health insurance company to determine what your individual coverage and out-of-pocket costs would be.
How much information can the sensor store?
Every 15 minutes, the sensor records glucose readings and logs the information in an 8-hour rolling log that can be downloaded with a single scan. If you scan the sensor, you can also receive a new glucose reading every minute.
Does using FreeStyle Libre require taking insulin?
You can use the Freestyle Libre even if you don't take insulin. However, the device's primary function is to support the monitoring and control of blood glucose levels in those who need insulin.
Can you shower with a FreeStyle Libre on your arm?
Yes. You can use the water-resistant sensor while bathing, showering, swimming, or working out. However, the sensor should be submerged for at most 30 minutes or in water deeper than 1 meter. The sensor will keep the data while you swim if you are moving while swimming. You should check the sensor after swimming to learn your blood glucose levels.
Please be aware that the reader is not water-resistant and should not be used in the shower, bathtub, or swimming pool.
Does FreeStyle Libre work without the Internet?
Yes, the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System can work without an internet connection. The system itself does not require an internet connection to function.
Can you go through a metal detector with a FreeStyle Libre?
Yes, you can generally pass through a metal detector with the Freestyle Libre 14 Day sensor without any issues. However, the FreeStyle Libre reader and the FreeStyle Libre Sensor should not be exposed to some airport full-body scanners (i.e. x-ray and millimeter radio-wave). To avoid removing your FreeStyle Libre Sensor, you should request another type of screening to be performed by the Security Officer. If in doubt about the type of security scan you are passing through, notify the Security Officer prior to proceeding through the airport security checkpoint.
Does the FreeStyle Libre leave a needle in your arm?
No needle is left in your arm during the 14-day wear. During the insertion process, a small, flexible filament is inserted just below the skin’s surface on the back of your upper arm. While a needle is employed during the initial insertion to puncture the skin, it is promptly withdrawn, leaving the filament in position to continually monitor your glucose levels.
How many times can you scan FreeStyle libre in 1 day?
Users can scan as often as they want, but the reading will not update more frequently than every 60 seconds.
What are the side effects of the FreeStyle Libre sensor?
The Freestyle Libre 14 Day System is generally considered safe and well-tolerated by most users. However, like any medical device or sensor, it may cause some side effects or adverse reactions in some individuals. Commonly reported side effects or issues associated with the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System may include: skin irritation, allergic reactions, itching, bruising or bleeding at insertion site.
Is the FreeStyle Libre 14-Day System being discontinued?
Freestyle libre 14 day sensors are still available. However, Abbott has discontinued the Freestyle libre 14 day reader. New users may use their compatible smartphone device to obtain their glucose readings. Any users who are currently using the 14 day system with a reader can continue to do so.
Can you still use the FreeStyle Libre 14-Day reader?
If you have a FreeStyle Libre 14-day reader, you can continue to use it. However, any new users will need to use a compatible smartphone device to view their glucose data since the reader has been discontinued.
About Amanda Ciprich, MS, RD
Amanda Ciprich, a registered dietitian with a specialization in type 1 diabetes, was diagnosed with T1D herself at the age of 18. With her expertise and personal experience, she has authored two books, including "The Caregiver's Guide to Diabetes: Practical Advice for Caring for Your Loved One." As the founder of T1D Nutritionist, a virtual insurance-based private practice, Amanda provides counseling and guidance to individuals with T1D and their families, supporting them in effectively managing diabetes.