Peter Chalikias Routine Finger Pricks Could Now Be a Thing of the Past for Australians Living with Diabetes Interview
The days of routine glucose testing with lancets, finger pricking, test strips and blood are over for people aged 18 and older with insulin dependent diabetes after the arrival of Abbott's FreeStyle® Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System in Australia.
The revolutionary, new Flash Glucose Monitoring system makes glucose monitoring more discreet and convenient by eliminating routine finger pricking through a sensor worn on the back of the arm and a reader that scans for a glucose profile. Glucose data is displayed on the reader in an easy-to-read, visual chart known as the Ambulatory Glucose Profile (AGP). In addition, no finger prick calibration is needed " a key differentiator from current continuous glucose monitoring systems.
'FreeStyle Libre represents a significant advance in the field of glucose monitoring," said Prof. Stephen Twigg, Head of the Dept. of Endocrinology, RPA Hospital and Kellion Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Sydney. 'This technology offers a highly convenient and quite painless way to acquire more frequent glucose readings. It enables detailed, actionable glucose profiles that will support people with diabetes across their day, and also encourages a more productive discussion between the patient and their healthcare professional."
How Abbott's Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System Works
A small, round sensor " approximately the size of two stacked 20-cent coins – is worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days and captures glucose readings day and night. A handheld reader is scanned over the sensor to get a quick and painless, real-time glucose result in less than a second. It also displays an eight-hour history and a trend arrow that shows the direction that glucose is heading.
With the FreeStyle Libre system, glucose readings can be captured through clothing and without mess or hassle because there is no need to draw blood routinely. The water-resistant design means that FreeStyle Libre can be worn while showering, swimming and exercising so people can continue to lead an active lifestyle.
Ambulatory Glucose Profile"Visual Depiction Of Glucose Trends
The FreeStyle Libre System provides an Ambulatory Glucose Profile (AGP) report that gives users and their physicians a visual snapshot of a person′s typical day, by utilising dense glucose data revealing hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic trends.
'Taking isolated blood glucose readings now and then doesn't give the whole picture, as levels can markedly fluctuate between such times, including during sleep," explains Prof. Twigg. 'The dense FreeStyle Libre glucose data delivered provides a vantage point to link glucose trends to clinical decision-making. It facilitates informed decision making in patient treatment modification, such as in planning carbohydrate intake, insulin therapy dosing, in exercise scheduling, and other self-care behaviours."
Diabetes Management In Australia
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. Each day, 280 Australians develop diabetes and it costs the nation an estimated $14.6 billion annually. For the 1.2 million Australians diagnosed with diabetes8, daily management can often be tiring, particularly when it involves checking blood glucose levels on average three to six times a day.
The recent YourSAY: Glucose Monitoring Survey revealed that many people with diabetes said that pricking their finger was painful and that their -ideal' glucose monitoring device would mean no longer having to prick their finger.
'We are excited to be one of the first countries outside of Europe to have access to this revolutionary glucose monitoring technology," said Peter Chalikias, Regional Director of Abbott's diabetes care business in Australia. 'Time spent listening to our customers' needs has led to the development of the FreeStyle Libre System; we are now able to provide an innovative solution that removes the pain and hassle of routine finger pricking, improves daily diabetes management and ultimately, helps people with diabetes to live happier and healthier lives."
For Diabetes Australia CEO, Greg Johnson, the significance of new and emerging technologies is the positive impact they can have on people living with diabetes. 'In reality, glucose monitoring can be difficult and intrusive, so we welcome innovative new glucose monitoring technologies that have the potential to provide people living with diabetes with increased control and peace of mind, reduce the risk of complications and improve health outcomes," said Prof. Johnson.
Key Features Of Abbott′S Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System
No finger prick calibration
Disposable, water-resistant sensor can be worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days
The sensor automatically measures and continuously stores10 glucose in the interstitial fluid every minute through a small filament (5mm long, 0.4mm wide) that is inserted just under the skin and held in place with an adhesive pad
Glucose readings can be taken as many times per day as needed or desired, with a painless one second scan
The reader holds up to 90 days of data, displayed in a user-friendly, visual snapshot of glucose levels over time
The AGP report provides detailed, actionable glucose profiles that will help both healthcare professionals and their patients to better manage diabetes.
Insulin-using Australian adults living with diabetes are encouraged to speak to their healthcare professional to determine if the FreeStyle Libre system would be right for them.
Abbott′s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in February 2016 and is now available for purchase online at www.FreeStyleLibre.com.au.
Interview with Peter Chalikias, Regional Director, ANZ, SE Asia, Taiwan, Korea, Abbott Diabetes Care
Question: What is FreeStyle Libre?
Peter Chalikias: FreeStyle Libre, developed by the global health care company Abbott, is the first product in the Flash Glucose Monitoring category that is designed to liberate patients from the hassles of glucose monitoring and provide Health Care Professionals (HCPs) and people with diabetes with deeper insights to make more informed treatment decisions.
What makes Flash Glucose Monitoring unique is the quick scan of a reader over a sensor to collect glucose data. Another key feature of the Flash Glucose Monitoring system is the small and fully disposable sensor that lasts up to 14 days, requires no finger prick calibration, no routine finger pricks, and that automatically measures, captures and stores 90 days of glucose data. This provides the user with a complete glucose picture over three months.
Question: How is FreeStyle Libre different to previous glucose monitoring systems?
Peter Chalikias: FreeStyle Libre provides a new way of using sensor technology and offers ways to overcome the barriers associated with traditional blood glucose monitoring. FreeStyle Libre is designed as an affordable and easy way to generate the dense glucose data needed for an insightful glycaemic picture and works as a replacement to blood glucose monitoring and routine finger pricking.
Traditional blood glucose monitoring requires finger prick testing, and provides users with glucose readings that represent distinct points in time. Users do not get comprehensive information regarding how their glucose levels have been changing, nor do they get information about where their glucose levels are going. Without such information it can be easy to miss significant glucose fluctuations - the ups and downs. Automatic glucose measurements gives a more complete picture of glucose fluctuations by providing glucose values dependent on the system from every minute to every 5 minutes. Understanding how their glucose levels have been changing makes it possible for users and their healthcare team to take appropriate actions and make therapy adjustments.
Question: How does FreeStyle Libre eliminates the need for routine finger pricking?
Peter Chalikias: People living with diabetes have predominantly relied on blood glucose monitoring (BGM), which requires finger prick testing.
FreeStyle Libre, however, consists of a sensor, which is applied to the back of the upper arm, and a reader. Patients take a glucose reading by scanning the reader over the sensor, thus eliminating the need for routine finger pricks to obtain a reading.
Question: How does the FreeStyle Libre work?
Peter Chalikias: The sensor is applied to the back of the upper arm with a simple, disposable device called an applicator. When the sensor is applied, a small (5mm) filament is inserted just under the skin, and held in place with a small adhesive pad. This small sensor on the back of the arm lasts up to 14 days.
Glucose readings can be taken day and night, as many times as needed or desired. The sensor stores the last eight hours of data; with a scan every eight hours, patients can capture 24 hours of glucose data.
Data generated by the system provides actionable trends and patterns that may help patients to modify their diet and other behaviours to allow them to better manage their diabetes.
Question: Why is this product for adults, only?
Peter Chalikias: At this point in time, Abbott does not have TGA approval for FreeStyle Libre to be used in pediatric care in Australia. It is indicated for measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels in insulin-using adults with diabetes aged 18 years and older.
Abbott is always working to expand the indication in Australia.
Question: How will the FreeStyle Libre make it easier for those with insulin dependent diabetes?
Peter Chalikias: Flash Glucose Monitoring has been introduced to help people with diabetes achieve better glycaemic control, and improve the ease and efficacy of daily diabetes management. It will offer an alternative to blood glucose monitors for insulin-using Australian adults with diabetes.
The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System requires no finger prick calibration, no routine finger pricks and it automatically measures, captures and stores 90 days of glucose data. This provides the user with a complete glucose picture over three months.
In addition, scanning can be done while the sensor is under clothing, helping to make testing more discreet and convenient.
The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System offers a Trend Arrow with each glucose reading which tells you which way and how quickly glucose levels are changing. So, at any given time, you not only know what your glucose level is currently, but also which way it is heading. Depending on the direction of the Trend Arrow, you can find out if your glucose levels are going up, down or staying steady, helping to facilitate better decision-making.
The device also produces what is known as the Ambulatory Glucose Profile (AGP). This is a visual report that collapses all glucose readings from several days or weeks as if they occurred in a single 24-hour period making it easier to visualise glycaemic patterns. By capturing and displaying glucose data, AGP makes it easier for HCPs to have conversations with patients as to what their glucose profiles look like. HCPs can see a visual snapshot of a patient's typical day and trends and patterns behind patient glucose results.
Additionally, the FreeStyle Libre sensor is water resistant so it can be worn while bathing, showering, swimming or throughout exercise.
Question: When will FreeStyle Libre be readily available?
Peter Chalikias: Consumers can now purchase FreeStyle Libre directly from Abbott online, at www.FreeStyleLibre.com.au.
Interview with Georgie Peters, 24 years old, High School Teacher in Melbourne, VIC; Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2010
Question: What excites you most about the FreeStyle Libre product?
Georgie Peters: I think the thing that excites me most about the FreeStyle Libre is how easy it is to test my blood sugar. I'm a teacher, and my day is always incredibly busy, and I often don't have time to sit down or go to the loo, let alone test my blood sugar. Being able to quickly scan my arm while teaching is invaluable, as I can see the trend of my levels and ensure that I'm going ok! I can quickly correct or treat in class, without having to take the time to prick my finger. It's subtle, so it doesn't make an impact on the flow of the lesson, and it also involves no blood - which prevents me accidentally bleeding on something!
This easiness helps with all aspects of my life - I can check at traffic lights, during a sports game or workout, or when I'm out with friends in a crowded bar. Not having to balance my meter, a test strip, and a finger pricker on top of my knee makes a big difference. I guess it makes me feel less 'diabetic' - testing is easy and doesn't single me out from the crowd.
Interviews by Brooke Hunter