European regulators have approved the FreeStyle Libre system for use in children. Its manufacturer, Abbott, is now negotiating with the NHS to have the system provided for free to children with type 1 diabetes. It normally costs £96 per month.
The Libre system - which is a small device, roughly the size of a £2 coin - provides blood glucose readings without the need for finger-pricking. The patch is placed on the upper arm, and a filament the width of three human hairs pierces the skin. It then reads glucose levels through interstitial fluid, which is located between skin cells. The information picked by the patch, and when the patch is scanned this information is then sent to a digital reader. Unlike many continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, however, the Libre does not notify the user of excessively low or high blood glucose levels.
“The availability of FreeStyle Libre for children is a critical milestone for children living with diabetes,” said Emanuele Bosi, of the Universita Vita-Salute, Milan.
“The technology is transformative because it changes how self-monitoring has been done for decades - and is proven to be accurate and stable.
“I look forward to seeing my young patients achieve better diabetes management, while giving their parents and caretakers more peace of mind.”
Although the developments are very promising, there is currently no NHS funding route for the Libre system, and there is no evidence to suggest that this system, or CGM systems, will be widely available on the NHS at their current price.
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