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The FreeStyle Libre System provides diabetes management solutions for users with no-fingerstick glucose testing. Knowing which is best for your needs can be confusing with two versions, the FreeStyle Libre 2 and the FreeStyle Libre 14 Day. We'll provide an overview of the differences between the two, so you can decide which version is right for you.
How FreeStyle Libre Systems Work
Both FreeStyle Libre systems consist of a reader and a sensor. A small sensor is placed on the back of your upper arm, where it measures the levels of glucose found in interstitial fluid. Checking glucose readings is simple as scanning the sensor with the Freestyle Libre reader or smartphone.
FreeStyle Libre provides glucose updates every minute eliminating the need for constant fingersticks. However, there are certain times when users may need to rely on fingersticks which includes:
- When the check blood glucose symbol appears on the reader
- When your symptoms and readings don’t match
- When you suspect the results are inaccurate
- When you have symptoms that could indicate high or low blood glucose levels
FreeStyle Libre 2 and FreeStyle Libre 14 Day System Similarities
While the Freestyle Libre 2 and Freestyle Libre 14 Day System are different continuous glucose monitoring devices, they have similar features including:
- No fingersticks required for calibration
- Glucose readings every 1 minute
- Small, thin sensors the size of 2 stacked quarters
- Sensor lifespans are 14 days
- 1 hour sensor warm up period
- Sensors are water-resistant and can be worn when swimming, showering or exercising
- Display device has trend arrows to show changes in glucose readings
- Device app allows for monitoring of glucose levels from compatible smartphone devices
- Similar list prices
Difference Between Freestyle Libre 2 and Libre 14
The FreeStyle Libre 2 has an alarm feature that will alert users within a minute when glucose levels are too high or too low without scanning. Users have the choice to enable or disable these alarms and customize when they sound to align with their individual preferences.
The FreeStyle Libre 14 Day System lacks glucose alarms or notifications. Users must scan their sensor to access real-time glucose levels. Users won’t receive any alerts when glucose levels are too high or too low glucose levels.
The accuracy of the Freestyle Libre 2 surpasses that of the FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor. Libre 2 has a mean absolute relative difference (MARD) of 9.2% for adults and 9.7% for pediatric patients. In contrast, the FreeStyle Libre 14 Day sensor exhibits a MARD of 12%. The MARD stands as a prevalent benchmark for evaluating continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. It quantifies the average disparity between all CGM readings and the corresponding reference blood glucose values. A smaller percentage denotes closer alignment between the CGM readings and reference glucose levels, while a higher MARD points to more substantial deviations between the CGM and reference glucose values.
The FreeStyle Libre 2 system is authorized for use in children aged 4 and above, while the FreeStyle Libre is exclusively approved for individuals aged 18 years and older.
Which CGM is right for me?
Determining a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for you depends on various factors, including your medical needs, lifestyle, preferences, and insurance coverage. Consider what features matter most to you in terms of features, comfort, and usability, and then consult with your healthcare team to make an informed decision.
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.