Got my Freestyle Libre today

I received my Freestyle Libre today. Not easily done because of the controls that Abbot puts in place to ensure you can only buy it in approved countries. You can only order it directly from Abbot online currently in the countries where it is approved. If you try visit from a non-approved country, their website reads your IP address and will not even show you the ordering or product pages.

I was transiting through the UK on a business trip to Asia three weeks ago and ordered one to be sent to my office in London. I’m back in the UK this week and picked it up, and just inserted the first sensor now. I wear a Dexcom G4 24/7 and look forward to comparing and contrasting the two over the next couple weeks and will update you all on my observations.

My initial impression is positive. The reader is only slightly larger than my Freestyle Freedom Lite meter. It is rechargeable and uses a standard micro usb port to charge. The sensor is the size of a large coin and is easily applied with the included applicator. The instructions say it should be good for 14 days on the back of my arm. I’m curious to see if it will stick that long and will let you know. Like the Dexcom, once inserted, it takes time to become active and provide data. The Libre takes 60 mins, the Dexcom about 120 mins. I inserted my sensor about 30 minutes ago and still have to wait to get readings.

I’m keen to compare the accuracy of the Libre to the Dexcom. It’s late here and I’m headed off to bed. It should be fully functional tomorrow morning. The UK version only displays readings in mmol/L, so I’ll have to learn the conversions. :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to updating you all further as I start getting readings in the next two weeks.


Great! I'm very interested in the flash monitor tech. I've logged onto the Abbott site using a IP proxy but then got tripped up due to needing a UK address. Sheesh!

I look forward to your comparison report with the G4. I'm also curious how it stacks up against your meter. My ideal set-up would include the G4 + the Libre with a few fingersticks each day. I currently fingerstick 12-15 per day.

I think it won't be too hard to start to think in terms of mmol/L. 72 mg/dl = 4 mmol/l, 144 mg/dl = 8 mmol/L, and 180 mg/dl = 10 mmol/L. So targeting 4-8 mmol/L makes up a nice round number range.

I'm also interested to see how you like this. the mmol/L does discourage me though. I hope it comes here soon and they change that. The last thing I want to worry about is trying to figure that out when I'm low- my brain already has trouble with remembering conversions.

I spend so much time on this site (and LiveJournal before) that I can now convert between mmol/L and mg/dl in my head, at least between about 30 and 400. :)

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I really think I just have a mental block about all conversions, I constantly have to look them up online every time I need to do one.. lol

Still waiting for mine!

Look forward to your review Christopher, particularly interested in the accuracy vs meter and Dexcom G4. Also keen to see if you get a full 14 days out of a sensor.

I'm self funding so still in two minds whether to go with the freestyle libre and new accu chek insight pump or the Animas vibe and the G4.

Ha, I hear you.

I think the calculation is just *18.05 isn't it?

Right now there is a shortage of libre sensors due to a technical issue. The first iteration of the sensor stopped to collect new sensor data in low power states. The issue was that instead of an error it reported the last successfully collected data instead of new data. This was easy to identify because the sensor reported the same value again and again. This whole batch of sensors had to be removed causing the current shortage.

I got the feedback that this will be fixed beginning with the next year for Germany. In Germany we have both standards (mg/dl and mmol/l) due to different standardization in West and East Germany. On the plus side I should have access to both metrical systems. Please leave me a personal message if you want me to help with an order. The official price for the starter pack in Germany is 169,90€ (2 sensors plus reader).

One potential showstopper! It is not confirmed yet but it might be possible that the language is hard coded in the libre device. I will contact the German Abbot support tomorrow to clarify this.

I've checked and you can change the language via the software as confirmed in the attached user manual.

However it states that this is for "multi language" readers only which I believe the german models are, but I guess this needs clarifying.

413-ART30882001_revAWEB.pdf (773 KB)

Could you also give us an idea of prices? I'm really interested too how well it works. Thanks so much for such interesting feedback!

Here are the pertinent screen shots from the Libre manual linked above:

The good news is that the German edition of the Freestyle Libre supports the languages German and English.

The bad news is that right now you can not order the device - although the website claims 3 to 5 days for delivery. You can not even register as a new Libre customer on the Abott site. The earliest delivery is Q1/2015. Within this quarter it can get late: January, February and even March...

Even easier - it's just 18 (or at least that's what I use; maybe it is actually 18.05 and I'm losing a degree of accuracy, but it's pretty close).

The only other ones I can almost do in my head are centimetres and inches and to a lesser extent kilometres to miles. Everything else I have to look up. :)

Thanks for the news, Holger. It appears that Abbott is battling some start-up gremlins. Once they get it sorted out, I'd love to try this flash monitor system.

Ok everybody, my apologies for being offline for the last week or so. I just ended a very hectic, whirlwind European business trip and am finally home again.

Here's the net result of the G4 vs. the Libre in my opinion: the Libre wins hands down! The accuracy is downright amazing. Firstly, no calibration required. Insertion is quick, and it is up and running in an hour. The sensor is good for 14 days. The G4 only for 7 - officially, that is. We all know we can leave a G4 in and restart it for another 7 days. Not only that, but I'm 9 days in and the Libre sensor is still solidly stuck to my arm. I placed my G4 sensor right next to it and the edges started peeling up already. Had to use Skin-Tac on the G4 to get it to stick back down for the remaining second week.

I rarely see a deviation of more than 5pts vs the Libre and a finger prick with either my Freestyle Lite meter, or the Freestyle meter in my Omnipod PDM. The G4 can be off by as much as 20 points sometimes and needs to be calibrated daily. Not only that, the G4 is downright sluggish in indicating a quick rise or fall. The Libre is only a couple of minutes behind a finger stick in this situation. The one benefit that the G4 has here is that it displays the data constantly. With the Libre you need to swipe it over the sensor to get a reading. However, both will show trend lines and history. The Libre has a very nice and easy to navigate touch menu for settings and stats.

Both the Libre and the G4 have free, downloadable software that you can use to analyze and report historical data. However the Libre offers it for BOTH mac and PC. It's very cool and easy to use.

The Libre is currently only available to residents of the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. And it is currently only available by ordering it directly from Abbot under They prevent people from ordering from outside these countries by only displaying pages to computers with IP addresses from the allowed countries. This is easily circumvented by using free, and very easy to use VPN software like CyberGhost ( which lets you spoof servers into thinking you're logging in from from the country of your choice. The French, Italian and Spanish models are available in mg/dL. The rest are mmol/L, like my UK model, and the German model is available in both. I have to say I've learned how to convert mmol/L to mg/dl pretty well since getting it. The other hurdle is that you have to have a shipping address in the country, because the country is hard coded in the "ship to" fields on the order page in each respective site.

Holger is correct. There seems to be a bit of a run on these. I guess I got lucky and got one of the first ones in the UK. I was also traveling through Germany and wanted to order one there, but got the same message as all the other country sites that states they have run out and will email you when they're available again. The good thing, however, is that if you've already successfully ordered a Libre, they will let you re-order sensors.

I really hope the FDA approves the Libre soon for the US. This is a quantum leap in convenience and accuracy. For those of you in Europe debating the out of pocket expense of a G4, as it seems they are not covered by insurance in many countries there, the Libre is a superior alternative. And if your insurance does not cover a Libre, it is still a much more economical alternative. The reader is 60 Euros, and the 2 week sensors are 60 Euros - competitive with the price of test strips. The UK site let's you order it without paying 20% sales tax (VAT) by simply checking a box declaring that you have diabetes. Amazing.

In conclusion, I think the only meaningful advantage the G4 has is the ability to alert for dangerous lows or highs. For those of you who are hypo-unaware or need that peace of mind while sleeping, for example, the Libre just cannot do that.

What I also find encouraging is that this can be one step closer to a very accurate closed-loop artificial pancreas system. If Abbot starts developing this technology further such that it can communicate with an insulin pump - which I can definitely imagine in the medium term, say 3-5 years, we can all look forward to very accurate and automated blood sugar control.

I hope this review helps. Feel free to follow up with any questions you might have.

Chripstopher - Thanks for the comprhensive review. Does your G4 have the 505 update?

This looks like an overall worthwhile choice. As I’ve written earlier, I still value the night-time alerts but would love to use the Libre to replace my fingersticks.

You mentioned your busy business travel schedule. Did you find it more convenient to swipe the monitor instead of taking a fingerstick break. Did you check more frequently? I suppose if you didn’t have the Dex running you’d be motivated to look at it more often.

Now, I hope I don’t have to wait 3 years to use this tech!

I just saw my endo yesterday and, while talking about me getting a Dexcom (likely out of pocket0, he mentioned that the Libre will be coming to Canada next year. Between your comments and similar comments I've heard from a friend of mine who has one (and a Dexcom), I'm seriously considering waiting and purchaisng one of these instead. The two big disadvantages to me are the white touchscreen (white backgrounds are almost painfully bright for me, and touchscreens are hard to use because I have to get so close) and the fact that there would be no alarms overnight.

Hey Terry:

I have not been able to do the 505 update yet. I live in a Mac world... :-) However, I've got an old HP that I plan to bring back to life over the weekend that I'll try to use for the update. Will let you know once I do and if the accuracy of the G4 gets noticeably closer to the Libre as a result.

It's much easier to swipe than do a fingerstick. In fact, I've grown so confident in the accuracy of the Libre, I'll often use it to calibrate my G4. Because my international travel can dramatically influence my basal needs, I see myself still using both because I can count on the nighttime alerts from the G4. However, when I'm in one time zone for an extended period of time, I can envision using the Libre only.

I agree with you. I hope this comes to market in the US soon. I think it can make a dramatic difference in helping with better control - especially for anyone who's hesitant to test and those who are tightly rationed by doctors or insurance companies in how many test strips they are allowed. With the Libre you can test to your heart's desire by simply swiping the reader over the sensor.

In fact, the NFC technology used to read and transmit the data is the same used by the new generation of iPhones. Maybe one day Apple and Abbot will allow them to talk to each other. Then your phone becomes your reader.

All the best,