A meta-analysis of 75 real-world studies found that the FreeStyle Libre system from Abbott is associated with significant reductions in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) at 3 months, with reductions following a similar pattern in individuals with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and sustained for up to 24 months.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes who use insulin are often restricted when accessing continuous glucose monitoring systems. For example, in most European countries, the FreeStyle Libre system is reimbursed for all individuals with type 1 diabetes, but individuals with type 2 diabetes can only get the product reimbursed if they meet certain criteria, such as using insulin several times each day or having poorly controlled HbA1c levels.
Despite this lack of access, both clinical trials and real-world studies demonstrate significant improvement of glycemic control when using such systems. The analysis found that patients with type 2 diabetes who use insulin benefited from the FreeStyle Libre system in the same way as individuals with type 1 diabetes in real-world studies.
After 3 months of using the FreeStyle Libre system, HbA1c levels were reduced by 0.53% in adults with type 1 diabetes (from 8.2% to 7.67%) and by 0.45% in adults with type 2 diabetes (from 8.17% to 7.72%). These reductions are clinically significant changes toward the internationally recommended HbA1c goal of 7% for adults with diabetes.
Reductions were sustained for up to 24 months in individuals with type 1 diabetes and up to 12 months in those with type 2 diabetes, reflecting the duration of the studies available for analysis. Reductions in HbA1c over time followed a similar pattern for both groups, demonstrating that in a real-world setting, individuals with type 2 diabetes who use insulin benefit from the FreeStyle Libre system, according to the study.
“Many people with type 2 diabetes who use insulin have a very similar experience to people with type 1 diabetes in terms of the risk of complications and the need to monitor blood glucose, but access to sensing technology is rarely equal for both groups,” said Mark Evans, MD, FRCP, a professor of diabetic medicine at the University of Cambridge, in a press release. “Our analysis demonstrates the value of constant glucose monitoring to support glycemic control in people with advanced type 1 diabetes who use insulin as we see clinically meaningful benefits translated to a real-world setting.”
HbA1c provides an estimate of average glucose levels over a period of time and is the standard measurement of glycemic control for patients with diabetes. Increased HbA1c is associated with a greater risk of developing complications related to diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease.
The FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system includes a sensor, which is applied to the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days to continuously measure glucose, paired with a reader or compatible smartphone app that displays the readings.
“Our FreeStyle Libre system is the most widely used wearable glucose monitor with proven clinical and real-world data from more than 1 million users,” said Alexander Seibold, EMEA medical director for Abbott’s diabetes care business, in the press release. “It provides people real-time insights into how their glucose levels are affected by their daily routines, empowering them to make healthy adjustments and see the benefit to their health and life. It puts people with diabetes in control of their health.”