Difference between Freestyle Libre and Libre Pro

In September 2016, US FDA has approved Abbott’s Freestyle Libre Pro, a version of Freestyle Libre for medical professionals. This is a novel “flash” glucose monitoring system which measures glucose every 15 minutes and does not require any manual calibration. The patients wearing the Pro sensor cannot see any data collected by this device. Only clinicians can see and analyse the data.

The workflow for Libre Pro:

  • In the clinic, a medical professional applies the small Libre Pro sensor to the patient’s upper arm.
  • The patient wears the sensor for up to 14 days. The sensor is water-resistant and doesn’t need any special attention.
  • Over 14 days, the sensor collects glucose readings every 15 minutes. No manual calibration is needed. The patient cannot see any data.
  • After 14 days, the patient comes back to the doctor’s office. The doctor scans the sensor using a Libre Pro reader and downloads the complete glucose data for two weeks.

Differences between Libre and Libre Pro:

  • The goal of Libre is to help with self-management of diabetes, to assist with real-time decisions which we make during the day. The goal of Libre Pro is to provide data to medical professionals.
  • Libre has features which help with diabetes self-management. There is an option to add bookmarks about food and exercise for an easier interpretation of glucose data afterwards. Another feature of the Libre’s reader is a hidden bolus calculator which needs to be set up by a medical professional. The patient can use the Libre reader as a glucose meter and as a ketone meter. If using Libre Pro, the patient only has the sensor and no reader.
  • Both systems measure glucose in the interstitial fluid every minute, and both systems will store long-term data points every 15 minutes. The only difference: you can scan Libre and see the latest data in any given moment, and Libre will additionally store the data of manual scans.
  • Libre Pro doesn’t present any risk to the patient. It is easier to get a regulatory approval for this simplified system.

Libre Pro is much cheaper than traditional continuous glucose monitoring: the cost of each sensor is around 60 euros ($66), and it lasts for two weeks. The clinic will only need one reader, which also costs around $66. There is no need to buy additional readers for the patients.

Other reasons to use Libre Pro: not to overload patients with continuous glucose numbers, and to make sure that the patients don’t change their usual behaviour when wearing the sensor — if the goal is to obtain realistic data.

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