Question about CGMs

I was wondering how it works? Is it a permanent thing, or do you only use it for some period at a time? How often is the "probe" changed, or whatever it's called, and how much does it cost without any insurance?

It's not normal to get them in Denmark for prolonged periods of time, and we usually only get them for up to 7 consecutive days paid for by health insurance, to work out any problems we have with insulin dosing. I've been thinking of maybe buying one out of pocket, if it's worth the money.

I have no idea about how much it would cost you with or without insurance as I'm not from where you are, but, I do know that how often you change the "probe" depends on the brand. I know that my Dexcom is "approved" for 7 days of consecutive use, but I usually keep each sensor in for two weeks. I think the minimed CGM is approved for 6 days, up from 3, but I'm not 100% on that.

As far as being worth the money, I guess that depends on how much it costs. I think that I would continue to pay for my CGM out of pocket if I ever lost my insurance coverage as I find it a valuable tool for my glucose control - I'd probably give up my pump before I gave up my CGM.

Hope that helps.

I self fund a Dexcom G4 system. I use an Animas Vibe pump which acts as the receiver and displays the results on the pump screen. I have a spreadsheet estimating costs for three systems - Medtronic Enlite + Veo, Dexcom G4 + Animas Vibe and also the new Abbot Freestyle Libre (which is not a fully functional CGM system as you don't get the low or hi BG alarms). Here is the link

The figures are based on UK prices in £ sterling. I should imagine they will be similar in other EU countries like Denmark. If you do not use the Animas Vibe pump, you would have to factor in the cost of a stand-alone receiver (£650 - should last at least 3 years).

The almost universal consensus is that the Dexcom system is by far the most accurate and reliable. Also most CGM users find them so useful and beneficial that they tend to use them 24/7 even if they self fund.


I use mine (Medtronic Enlite...) all the time but it's covered by my health insurance in the USA. I'm always shocked when I look at the bills and would probably try to work around it if it wasn't covered for some reason.

CGMs are used in two primary ways. Many people discuss the personal use of a CGM. The CGMs is essentially a permanent part of ongoing treatment. Often it is hard or nearly impossible to get insurance coverage and it can at times be quite expensive.

Then there is the clinical use of a CGM. Your endo may have you wear a CGM for 7 days to troubleshoot blood sugar problems and refine treatment. After 7 days you return the CGM to your doctor and he looks over your blood sugars, he may not even show you the result. Insurance is often more lenient with this CGM use. Clinical CGMs are sometimes "different." They may record your blood sugars but hide them from you so that wearing a CGM won't mask ongoing problems (like not testing at needed times).

Thanks for all your answers. :) You helped me with exactly what I needed.

Thank you for the spreadsheet. If I can get a Dexcom for £1400 or so a year, then it's not too bad. :)

Remember that's based on UK prices and assumes you use an Animas Vibe. The sensors are around 25% more expensive if you buy them direct from Dexcom's UK distributors than from Animas.

FWIW, the new generation G5 (due out in 2016) will transmit directly to an iPhone so you won't need a dedicated receiver or pump.

The transmitter is about $600 and the receiver is around $500. You probably paid $1000 due to your deductible.

wow, that's cheap! That must have been it. I must be remembering the pump.

the medtronic 640G has already been released in denmark, so you might get the CGM sensor from medtronic with the pump as a system funded, it is awesome technology…

I haven't much to add to what has already been said.

But I wasn't sure if the differences between the Medtronic & Dexcom CGM monitoring was clear.

Dexcom is essentially a CGM only company so they have always provided a separate monitoring device.

Medtronic, being a pump company, has built the monitoring of their CGM into their pumps. If you already use a Medtronic pump, then you could add their CGM. If you do not already have a Medtronic pump, that might be another reason to consider Dexcom.

One other nit. Outside of the US Medtronic's CGM sensors are supposed to last for 7 days. The 6 day restriction is only for inside the US. I don't know if Dexcom rates their CGM to last more than 7 days outside the US or not. Certainly lots of folks in the US will restart their sensors and get more than 7 days use from them.

Which direction you might want to consider taking often depends a lot on where you currently are and what you are already using.


Oh cool, thanks!
I think I might have a better chance to get a CGM paid for by my health insurance, if I get a pump with it. I currently have no problem switching pumps if the need arises, or if one becomes damaged, so I will definitely ask my doctor about it, when I'll see her in May. :)

In the UK (and AFAIK the rest of Europe), Medtronic Enlites are certified for 6 days and the Dexcom G4 for 7 (the same as in the US). The sensor sessions will be ended but can be restarted as if a new sensor has been inserted. The Medtronic transmitter will shut off after 7 days and needs to be detachyed, recharged and restarted (although you can do this at 6 days to co-incide with the sensor restart). The Dexcom transmitter does not require ongoing recharges, although the battery life means that it needs replacing periodically.

From what I can see there is little doubt that the user-interface on the new Medtronic 640G is going to be much nicer than on the Animas Vibe. However in terms of basic pump capabilities, there is no real difference between any of the pumps. My experience of the sensors is that if I were in line for a new pump right now, I would still go with the Vibe because the Dexcom sensors are so much more reliable and accurate. The new 640G offers a lot of sophistication in terms of predictive basal shut-off but all that is ultimately dependent on the reliability of the sensors.


In the UK (and AFAIK the rest of Europe), Medtronic Enlites are certified for 6 days and the Dexcom G4 for 7 (the same as in the US).


But then I am confused as to what the presenter in this video is referring to. Around time 04:19, while she is illustrating how to apply the overtape to an Enlite sensor, she says the following. (Emphasis added)

It's really important that it's stuck in well because this is what will determine that the sensor lasts the full seven days.

The video is on YouTube and supposedly is from "UCLH children and young people's diabetes service". I assumed that UCLH referred to University College London Hospitals.

What am I not understanding correctly?


You are correct, that's what the nurse is saying in the video. However, if you look at the Medtronic UK website, they say "You will need to wear a small glucose sensor that sits under the skin for up to 6 days at a time"

Maybe they have changed things withthe 640G. The sensor life is simply embedded in the pump software. Looking at the video, there's also a new transmitter for use the the 640G.

I know several Enlite 2 users. Eight days out of a sensor (with a restart) seems to be about the maximum.

I use mine on and off.

I use the Dexcom G4 and I don't know what I would do without it. I liken it to using a road map (or more appropriately Google Maps) to find a new location. Fortunately, my CGM and it's supplies are fully covered by my health insurance. Also, I tend to get 20+ days out of each sensor (FDA says 7 days) because, for me, the longer it's in the more accurate it becomes. Only time I replace is when the numbers become very wonky.

Good luck - CGM is a wonderful tool in my opinion.