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Dexcom Stelo: First Over-the-Counter CGM Arrives!

Exciting developments in diabetes tech are here, as Dexcom has announced the first over-the-counter continuous glucose monitor. Dexcom’s Stelo CGM is the first glucose biosensor cleared by the FDA for use without a prescription. The device is designed to help people with type 2 diabetes who aren’t on insulin to monitor their blood glucose without constant finger pricks. CGMs are small sensors worn on the body that continuously read blood glucose levels. The sensors send the data via Bluetooth to a cell phone where the user can see their blood glucose in real-time and see patterns to help them better treat their diabetes.

For the approximately 38 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, it’s a huge step forward that will make continuous glucose monitoring more accessible regardless of insurance coverage. Many type 2 diabetics who aren’t on insulin can’t get approved for a CGM by their insurance. Dexcom hopes that the Stelo will make it easier for them to access this invaluable technology.

Diving into the Dexcom Stelo: Key Features

At first glance, the Stelo sensor appears very similar to the Dexcom G7 sensor. It’s a small round sensor that’s lightweight and discreet. The sensors can be worn for 15 days, longer than any other Dexcom sensor. That means users will only need to change their sensors twice a month. New glucose data is sent to the app every 15 minutes, so users can easily see how different foods, exercise, and other factors affect their blood glucose.

Stelo sensors pair with a smartphone to share blood glucose data, meaning there’s no need to carry a separate device to check your blood sugar. Through Dexcom’s smartphone app, users can review their blood sugar levels and share data with their healthcare providers.

Dexcom Stelo: Is It Right For You?

Dexcom has designed Stelo with type 2 diabetics in mind. CGMs can help people with type 2 diabetes monitor their blood sugar without daily finger pricks. Since they monitor blood sugar constantly, you can see patterns in your levels and use the data to help you better manage your blood sugar. 

Stelo is specifically for people who have type 2 diabetes and aren’t on insulin. US health insurance companies often won’t cover a CGM for type 2 diabetics who don’t take insulin. Since Stelo will be available over the counter, it makes CGMs accessible for type 2 diabetics who may not have had the option to use one before. Using a CGM can help people with type 2 diabetes and their healthcare providers to better manage their blood sugar and make changes to their diet to improve their health.

Stelo is only approved for adults 18 and older and is not approved for pregnant women.

Benefits of Dexcom Stelo

The benefits of a CGM for people with diabetes are countless. The ability to see your blood sugar in real-time and record your blood sugar levels 24/7 can help you avoid extreme high blood sugar events and make changes to your diet and routine to improve your blood sugar levels. 

“CGMs can be a powerful tool to help monitor blood glucose. Today’s clearance expands access to these devices by allowing individuals to purchase a CGM without the involvement of a health care provider,” said Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in the FDA news release

Of course, a CGM system like Stelo can’t improve your blood sugar on its own. However, the information CGMs provide can be invaluable for you and your healthcare team to better understand how to control your blood sugar and what factors affect it. With traditional blood glucose meters, you might only test your blood sugar a few times a day. It’s harder to see patterns and make changes based on only a few values. But with a CGM, you can see how your blood sugar rises and falls throughout the day, making it easier to pinpoint what causes high blood sugar and avoid it. 

Dexcom Stelo vs Dexcom G7: What's the Difference?​

Dexcom’s G7 CGM is one of the most popular CGMs on the market, and it’s available for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Dexcom Stelo is only for people with type 2 diabetes. If you have type 2, how can you decide which device is best for you?

Stelo is designed for people who aren’t taking insulin as part of their treatment. It will be available without a prescription, so it’s accessible for people without insurance or whose insurance won’t approve them for a CGM. If you have type 2 diabetes, are not on insulin, and haven’t been able to get a CGM through your insurance, Stelo would be a great option for you.

If you have type 2 diabetes and take insulin or you have type 1 diabetes, the Dexcom G7 sensor might be a better option. The G7 can be paired with some insulin pumps as part of a hybrid closed-loop system. It can also help people taking insulin to avoid severe hypoglycemia, as it alerts users when their blood sugar is dropping so that they can treat it early. Dexcom’s website mentions that Stelo is not for people who have problematic hypoglycemia.

If you’re not sure whether the Dexcom G7 or the Stelo is your best option, consult your healthcare provider for advice.

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Dexcom Stelo: Release Date and Cost

Dexcom plans to release Stelo in the US sometime during the summer of 2024. It will be available for purchase online without a prescription.

Dexcom has yet to announce how much the system will cost. But it’s expected it will be competitively priced for people paying out of pocket. For those with health insurance coverage, costs may be even lower. If you’re interested in Dexcom Stelo, talk to your healthcare team to see if it would be right for you.

As Stelo’s release approaches, Dexcom will reveal more details about costs and coverage. You can stay up-to-date on all things Stelo by checking Dexcom’s website. And be sure to keep up with our blog here at Not Just A Patch for all the latest diabetes news!

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