First CGM - what do I need to know?

I've been coveting a CGM since I was diagnosed, but my diagnosis and prognosis were very unclear then. But now that things seem a bit more certain I want to start the process of getting one. So please give me your advice!

What are the most important questions I should ask?
What are the most important supplies I will need to stock?
What is the most expensive part of it?
What are the differences between the various models?

My health insurance will probably cover some of it, but I expect to pay quite a bit so knowing in advance which parts are the most expensive is very important to me.

Within the US, I recommend the Dexcom system. People report good experiences with Medtronic's system but the latest gen 4 Dexcom has really set the standard. At my 50% DME copay, Dexcom quoted me $654 for the initial receiver and transmitter and then each sensor would have cost me $34 (I chose not to purchase). Your insurance company is likely to have a set contract price with Dexcom/Medtronic, so your cost will vary from other PWD's. Dexcom will call and explain your cost before you decide. If you use the system full-time, the transmitter might last 6-9 months (and is guaranteed under warranty to last 6 mo) and the receiver is warrantied for 12 months. Each sensor is rated to last 7 days but most users will re-start the sensor and use them longer which will cut your cost down a bit (gotta tape it down so it doesn't fall off). Realistically, you should also budget a bit for tape/adhesive and cases (for the receiver). Hard to say what is most expensive part although I will say it doesn't seem a good value on part-time use. I could cut down my overall cost by using fewer sensors but I would still have buy a replacement receiver every 18 months and replacement transmitter 9 months, so I don't consider CGM a good value unless used at least half-time.

The one minus to Dexcom's system is people have had to replace their receiver (under warranty) due to a button popping off--not sure whether Dexcom will continue to replace this failure even after the 12 month warranty.

CGM is such a unique learning curve I am not sure what to advise you to ask. I don't find my Dexcom PLUS system to be as dependable or predictable as my pump. Accuracy can vary from sensor to sensor and from day to day for the same sensor. I view each sensor as a unique, imperfect but helpful guide. Although not accurate enough to replace fingersticks, the peace of mind of seeing the direction and trend of your current bg is wonderful. Enjoy!

get a dexcom g4, they do last 10 to 13 days for us, and we pay cash, so that makes it 150 to 180$ rather than 300 a month

it is so accurate most of the time that it is scary...

do have to calibrate twice a day

you will need some tegaderm and skin tac to make sure it sticks

good luck!!

Hi Megan: Don and Natalie have recommended the Dexcom, and I highly recommend it as well. I first had the Medtronic, which for me was useless junk. The Dexcom, I don't know how I lived without it! It is amazingly accurate and has really made my life better. My insurance covers all of it, so I can't comment on cost.

Hi Megan: i am with Melitta, Medtronic cgm, junk and not very accurate. Dexcom is accurate. You can usually get more than the 7 days out of the dexcom. The button does pop off the Dexcom and it is way weird. It still works even after it falls off though. I only use some of the IV tape when the adhesive starts to peel up to keep it in place. I just cut small strips of it and put on each side of the sensor.

I think it depends on what type of pump one wears and possibly in which country one resides .I use a Veo Medtronic pump and the Enlite Sensors have greatly improved over the SofSenters pump shut off delivery , when set at a certain BG number ...very useful for night especially and day low BG's .

I haven't had the same problems w/ Medtronic that everyone reports, or maybe I don't know what I'm missing. For me, the extra gizmo is a dealbreaker as I prefer the all-in-one setup of the Medtronic setup. Everyone who's tried both (there's some people who've done both at the same time, which seems to show the Dexcom to be more accurate, plus it's easier to put in and lasts longer. Although I'd never heard about the sensors lasting 9 months. The last MT sensor I had lasted from 2009-2012...). I don't pay any attention to the cost as the data has made all of our lives easier.

The supplies are all set up by Medtronic, they get low and they send more sensors (plus the reservoirs and sets for the pump...). I think it's like $150/ 90 day supply of all of that stuff. I always use the sensors or 6 days instead of 3 (the Dexcom can last 20-30 days I think, which may save quite a bit of $$...although mine tends to get a bit funky after 6 days...).

The best tape I've found is Opsite Flexifix 4" tape. It's kind of plasticky and will hold the sensors on through all sorts of antics. That and alcohol wipes are the only extra supplies I use.