FreeStyle Libre system approved for use in children, manufacturers negotiating with NHS

European regulators have approved the FreeStyle Libre system for use in children. Its manufacturer, Abbott, is now negotiating with the NHS to have the system provided free to children with Type 1 diabetes – it normally costs £96 per month.

The Libre system seems like the answer to the prayers of people with diabetes as it enables people to measure their glucose levels without the need for finger pricking. It is a small device, about the size of a £2 coin, which provides blood glucose readings without the need for finger pricking. The patch is placed on the upper arm and a filament the width of three human hairs pierces the skin. It then reads glucose levels in the fluid in the cells (interstitial fluid). When the patch is scanned this information is sent to a digital reader. Unlike many continuous glucose monitoring systems, the Libre does not have alerts for high and low blood glucose levels.

The Libre is not available on an NHS prescription in the UK which is a great same as this non-invasive method of testing may encourage people to test more often. We await a decision on whether or not it will be available for children with diabetes.