Improved Glucose Control without Routine Finger Pricks now a Possibility for New Zealanders Living with Diabetes

7 July 2017, 11:08AM
Weber Shandwick


July, 2017 — The wait for the latest glucose monitoring technology is over for New Zealand’s diabetes community, with the arrival of Abbott’s FreeStyle® Libre flash glucose monitoring system – a revolutionary, new way of glucose monitoring that eliminates the need for routine finger pricks. 3,4,5

Now, the days of routine glucose testing with lancets, finger pricking, test strips and blood are over for people aged 18 and older with insulin dependent diabetes. 2,5 Not only has FreeStyle Libre made it discreet and convenient6 to check glucose levels, it has also been shown to reduce time spent in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar).

“For many people with diabetes, the barrier to achieving good control is knowing what their blood glucose levels are,” says Associate Professor Jeremy Krebs, Endocrinologist and Clinical Leader, University of Otago, Wellington.

“Whilst finger prick testing can give them this information, it is often difficult to do this regularly, particularly in public situations. The new Flash technology continuous monitoring device has really made a big difference for patients of mine where testing frequently has been the barrier for them. I would hope that in time this technology will become funded by PHARMAC.

” Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre System consists of a small, round sensor — approximately the size of two stacked two dollar coins – worn on the back of the arm, and a reader that can display the person’s glucose profile in an easy-to-read, visual chart known as the Ambulatory Glucose Profile (AGP). In addition, no finger prick calibration is needed — a key differentiator from current continuous glucose monitoring systems, which require two or more fingersticks per day to remain accurate — a key differentiator from current continuous glucose monitoring systems.

HOW ABBOTT’S FREESTYLE LIBRE FLASH GLUCOSE MONITORING SYSTEM WORKS The sensor is worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days and captures glucose readings day and night. 7 A handheld reader is scanned over the sensor to get a quick and painless8 real-time glucose result in one second. It also displays an eight-hour history and a trend arrow that shows the direction that glucose is heading.

With the FreeStyle Libre system, glucose readings can be captured through clothing9 and without mess or hassle because there is no need to draw blood routinely. 3 The waterresistant design10 means that FreeStyle Libre can be worn while showering, swimming and exercising so people can continue to lead an active lifestyle.

IMPROVED GLUCOSE CONTROL STRONGLY ASSOCIATED WITH INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY In a clinical trial published in The Lancet, September 2016, FreeStyle Libre met its primary endpoint of a reduction in time spent in hypoglycaemia. 11 People in the trial using FreeStyle Libre spent 38 percent less time in hypoglycaemia, without increasing their HbA1c (an average measurement of glucose levels in the blood over the past 90 days). This was compared to people who managed their glucose with routine self-monitoring (pricking a finger to draw a drop of blood that is added to a test strip inserted into a glucose meter).

This year, new data from real-world users showed that higher rates of scanning with the FreeStyle Libre system were found to be strongly associated with improved glucose control. 1 According to the data, more than 50,000 people with diabetes using the FreeStyle Libre system checked their glucose levels an average of 16 times per day.

DIABETES MANAGEMENT IN NEW ZEALAND Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in New Zealand, with an estimated 257,70012 people currently diagnosed and over 100,000 people living undiagnosed13 . Diabetes is particularly prevalent among Māori and Pacific Islanders, who are three times as likely to be diagnosed, compared to other New Zealanders.

For the last eight years, the prevalence of diabetes has been rising at an average of 7 percent per year. In 2014 alone, the number of people living with diabetes grew by nearly 40 people a day.

Deborah Connor, President of Diabetes NZ appreciates that this is an exciting development in the diabetes space in New Zealand.

“The Type 1 and insulin dependent Type 2 diabetes communities have been waiting with anticipation and excitement for the FreeStyle Libre to become available in NZ,” she said. “It is a potential game changer for many who currently rely on multiple daily finger pricks to manage their blood sugar levels. As someone with 20 years of five a day finger pricking under my belt, the ability to monitor blood sugar levels by a simple swipe over a sensor is fantastic in terms of its convenience and discreteness. The advantages of this on those days where more frequent testing is needed should not be underestimated.

” Peter Chalikias, regional director, Diabetes Care, Abbott ANZ is thrilled to introduce this revolutionary glucose monitoring technology to New Zealand, after launching it in Australia in 2016.

“We know that many New Zealanders living with diabetes have been eagerly awaiting an innovative solution like FreeStyle Libre. We’re excited to offer a device that removes the pain and hassle of routine finger pricking, improves daily diabetes management and ultimately, helps them live active, healthier lives,” said Mr. Chalikias. 

Insulin-using New Zealand adults living with diabetes are encouraged to speak to their healthcare professional to determine if the FreeStyle Libre system would be right for them. Abbott′s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System is distributed in New Zealand by Medi’Ray NZ Ltd and is now available for purchase online at