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Old 24.08.2016, 12:07
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Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

In the Insurance thread I responded to a post about diabetic supplies with a question if readers had any experience with Continuous Glucose Monitoring.

I saw my Dr. last week and he suggested I try the '2nd Generation' Abbott FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. He gave me a two page (French, German) brochure that had minimal information and a phone number (041) 768 43 43. More info here (in English/DE/FR). It can be ordered over the phone without prescription. Not available for on-line ordering (think this because they are trying to restrict sales to CH. System is not (yet) available everywhere including US/CA.

The System is indicated for measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels in people (age 4 and older) with diabetes. It does NOT measure blood sugar levels it's the interstitial fluid! Apparently they can be a 10-15 minute,lag between the two.

The starter pack costs CHF185.25 and containers a reader and two sensors. Additional sensors cost CHF65.30 each and they work for 14 days. 6.50 postage on all orders. For me this will be slightly cheaper than the Bayer Contour Test Strips. Using six a day costs approx CHF75, plus the cost of lancets.

Sensors have a use before date of 5 1/2 months (28 Feb 17) so this isn't something you'll want to have a big stock of.

I found the sensors for sale on Amazon.co.uk (for £110 each!), but not Amazon.fr, .de or .it. With short use before period I'd think twice before ordering from third parties even if they were a lot cheaper, which they are not.

The insurance companies haven't decided if they will cover the costs of the reader/sensors. My Dr. Says that they 'should' as the cost is no more but ... (I'll follow up on this as/when).

Reader works in DE/FR/IT. Does not appear possible to change to English. You could order one in the UK (for £58) but think they will send it only to UK address.

Applying sensor is dead easy. Took less than a minute. When adding a new sensor it would give readings for 60 minutes (calibration?) but after that you can get a reading as often as you want. Just press the reader's on button and hold the reader within a few cms of the sensor, wait for the beep and that's it.

I've only been using mine for a few hours, and have been cross checking with finger pricks. The FSL is reading a little lower than FPs, which may be due to the lag, or it could be my Bayer Contour reader is getting old!

If this is of interest to any of you I'll post updates on how I'm getting on.
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Old 12.10.2016, 14:54
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Hi Bowlie,

Wow, my husband just handed me the number to order these sensors and asked me to take care of it; since neither my French nor my German are where I want them to be, I'm trying to reduce the number of questions I'll have to ask over the phone. And first thing I run across is your post. Wow, thank you! A ton of useful information here.

But, a couple of questions for you -
- How does the ordering process work? Do you have to call every time? Do you have to explain what you need, or is the line devoted to ordering just this product, so they already know why you're calling? I.e., can i just say, "hey, I want to order a 3-month supply, here's the name and address?"
- How long does it take for the order to arrive?
- Do you know whether the sensors work for measurement in mg/dl, as well as mmol?
- Has your insurance company decided to cover the cost?
- You say the reader only works in DE/FR/IT - after having used it for a month or so, have you located an English option? My husband doesn't speak a word of any of the three, so that'll be fun. (He's not Swiss-language illiterate by choice, I feel compelled to say...)

Thanks a million!!
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Old 13.10.2016, 18:32
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

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Hi Bowlie,

Wow, my husband just handed me the number to order these sensors and asked me to take care of it; since neither my French nor my German are where I want them to be, I'm trying to reduce the number of questions I'll have to ask over the phone. And first thing I run across is your post. Wow, thank you! A ton of useful information here.

But, a couple of questions for you -
- How does the ordering process work? Do you have to call every time? Do you have to explain what you need, or is the line devoted to ordering just this product, so they already know why you're calling? I.e., can i just say, "hey, I want to order a 3-month supply, here's the name and address?"
- How long does it take for the order to arrive?
- Do you know whether the sensors work for measurement in mg/dl, as well as mmol?
- Has your insurance company decided to cover the cost?
- You say the reader only works in DE/FR/IT - after having used it for a month or so, have you located an English option? My husband doesn't speak a word of any of the three, so that'll be fun. (He's not Swiss-language illiterate by choice, I feel compelled to say...)

Thanks a million!!
Sorry for the delay but am travelling.

I called the number and it answered with press 1 for German, 2 for French, or 3 for Italian. I pressed 2 and asked the man that answered if he spoke English - he did.

The first time I asked for the starter pack (reader and 1 sensor). He took my name, address, phone and email. Pack arrived three days later, but that was the Jeune Federal. Not by post but TNT. Signature not required so they could have left it in milk box if I wasn't there.

When I ordered additional sensors I called again and they just identified me by my phone number. Delivery took two days. Invoices were mailed separately for some reason.

Sensor only gives mmol.

I didn't ask if they had an English reader, you might try that. Also you might be able to get the reader with English from the UK (just change the .ch in the URL to .co.uk) but you will need a UK mailing address. There you will also see that a NFC equipped android phone can also read the sensor - not iOS nor in Switzerland... Yet.

But the Reader is very easy to use. Press on button and hold it to sensor. Reading is displayed. Other options to see weekly (and longer) trends etc under menu items. Language shouldn't be an issue.

You also can connect reader via USB with your computer. PC/Mac software has English option.

Have sent bills to insurance company but haven't heard back. Expect to find letter/payment advice when I return next week.

Hope this helps.
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Old 17.10.2016, 12:37
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Curiouser, and curiouser.

The insurance company has refunded the standard 90% of the cost of the reader, first two sensors and delivery cost. (CHF191.75).

But the 'Detail des prestations' says:

"CH:Abgabestelle für Mittel und Gegenstände" which Google translates as "Place of delivery for means and objects". (I am not a German speaker)

Does someone have a better translation?

Curious why they would use German when they are based in Martigny?
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Old 17.10.2016, 14:02
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Hi.
They speak English. I have phoned 4 times already.
I have been using this system for 6 months + now, but I am doing this through my Uberarzt in Kantonsspital Aarau.
He first wrote to my krankenkasse to get specific written agreement that they would pay.
My range is from 3 thru 26 so I am a bit of a guinea pig for the hospital. So far they have paid the bills.
It is a good system - problems with water in the bath and upper and lower values and a total con that you have to replace the sensor exactly after 2 weeks. This is purely financial nothing to do with battery life or sensor needle deterioration. You get warned for 3 days in advance.
However, much better than stabbing my finger 30 times a day.
Would not trust it to control my injections though
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Old 17.10.2016, 14:20
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Sorry
I have to add that DHL method is a real pain.
The sensor packaging is way over sized and I have to sign for mine. Otherwise it gets sent to Die Poste and if you are still not at home it can take up to 10 days for the order.
We have no post office in our village now.

The sensors come from Germany - where the krankenkasse have acceped this product.
The billing comes from Switzerland. I went to the office, but they had no supply of sensors in Altishofen.

From my side it would be better if I could get this directly from the Apoteke with all my other stuff, but until it is approved we have to live with with this process.
Good thing is that you can input carbs lantus nova rapid etc so that the doctor can see the effects of the insulln over the month.
Also overnight you get a download of your levels.

Shame that there is not an in built hypo glycemic alarm in the sensor and that they do not throw in a batch of compatable strips for comparison or emergency.
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Old 17.10.2016, 14:35
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

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Curiouser, and curiouser.

The insurance company has refunded the standard 90% of the cost of the reader, first two sensors and delivery cost. (CHF191.75).

But the 'Detail des prestations' says:

"CH:Abgabestelle für Mittel und Gegenstände" which Google translates as "Place of delivery for means and objects". (I am not a German speaker)

Does someone have a better translation?

Curious why they would use German when they are based in Martigny?
Maybe they do not pay delivery costs? Visana paid the total bill for me, but I am way over my franchise and other limits this year
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Old 17.10.2016, 16:30
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

No, they paid 90% of the invoice total including the delivery costs. Frankly I'm surprised they paid anything, as it isn't on the approved list yet. But it will be cheaper than the very expensive Bayer test strips. I was using 6-8 a day.

Didn't realise they were coming from Germany as the packaging is in three languages. Packaging has their postal addresses in DE/FR/IT/AT and CH though.

The 'use-by' or 'best before' dates are not that far in the future. The ones I got in Sep are only good through The end of Feb/17. That will discourage ordering more than a couple of months supply.
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Old 17.10.2016, 17:13
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Just ordered 8 sensors 2 weeks ago. Will check dates when I get home.

There is a mobile app which overrides the expiry date LIMS or something similar. Never tried it and no guarantee. Saw it on google.
My doctor just uses the standard abbott software.

As far as I know, no one has made a copy of the sensor yet in india or china. Surprising - I think the market is big and the tech is not so rocket science.

Anyway - it has probably saved my life twice already on hypa episodes. Over 28 it just says HI. My other manual measure goes to 35 before this.
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Old 17.10.2016, 18:11
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

There is an App for the Android phone:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....librelink.app

Nothing, yet, for iOS though.
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Old 17.10.2016, 19:29
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

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No, they paid 90% of the invoice total including the delivery costs. Frankly I'm surprised they paid anything, as it isn't on the approved list yet. But it will be cheaper than the very expensive Bayer test strips. I was using 6-8 a day.

Didn't realise they were coming from Germany as the packaging is in three languages. Packaging has their postal addresses in DE/FR/IT/AT and CH though.

The 'use-by' or 'best before' dates are not that far in the future. The ones I got in Sep are only good through The end of Feb/17. That will discourage ordering more than a couple of months supply.
On my TNT paper it said that the sender was Abbott Germany.

My expiry dates from my October delivery are at the end of March 2017. Looks like they just stick on the paper on the carton on dispatch as I cannot see how they produce a batch every month, especially as they come from the US or their central factory in India. Just packaged in Germany I think.

I will hold onto one sensor and see what happens April next year - maybe they have a device which programs the date onto the sensor through the carton at the same time they stick on the expiry sticker. If it is anything as strict as the 2 week limit programming, I guess it will give me an electric shock if I try to use it after the date.

Abbott have had a lot of very bad PR regarding ripping off customers with their products. Post sales service is next to zero. (I did a lot of background googling over the last half year)

But - this FreeStyle does make life much easier for me (except for the 2 weeks limit and ordering and inaccuracies at low levels) - also people cannot ask me to check their blood sugar in the bar as I do not have the sticks with me.
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Old 17.10.2016, 19:57
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

??? My best before date is printed on the bottom of the box, not a sticker.

I doubt that that date is anything other than advisory, but I wouldn't want to use one that had expired.

But on the two weeks - Do you really want to have a sensor stuck to your skin for more than two weeks? I'm not certain I would.

My Bayer test strips cost CHF0.90 each, 6 times a day is 75.60 for 14 days. 8 per day equates to 100.80. Each sensor costs 65.30. I don't find this to be comparatively expensive. They are giving me readings every 15 minutes or 96 times a day.

While I generally am not that happy with the costs of medical supplies these can be cheaper than existing alternatives, and provide much better control.
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Old 17.10.2016, 21:57
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Re: Glucose Monitoring - Abbott FreeStyleLibre

Looks like we are getting the sensors from two diferent places then. I am just next to the German border. Peeled off the sticker to see if there was a date under - nothing. Only date issue for me would be the battery life anyway.

Cost wise is the same for me - zero, but I do not really notice the sensor now. I lost two sensors tossing and turning in bed - now I put a waterproof plaster over it.

I inject about 10 times a day and monitor at least 30 times as my pancreas does not work at all, so it is probably a diferent scenario for me.

As I said - it is better than before and helps you also to spot bad habits and pre emt surges. Hope that it is the start of a new trend of diabetes monitoring and control. Be good when it is available on nhs in the UK
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Last edited by jbrady; 17.10.2016 at 22:23.
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