*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
This article was written by Adil Maqbool, MD and medically reviewed by Rachael Baker, BNg, CDE, MNgPrac
Last medically updated on 14/12/23.
Wondering about the key differences between Freestyle Libre 1 (known also as Freestyle Libre 14 day System) and the newly unveiled Freestyle Libre 2 sensor? Look no further.
Is there a Libre 2 sensor on the market?
Yes, the Freestyle Libre sensor is already available. The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the FreeStyle Libre 2, The NHS in the UK has also approved the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor, as has the TGA in Australia, it’s also in Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Finland.
The difference between Libre 1 and Libre 2
Firstly, there are a lot more similarities than there are differences, the shape is identical. The main difference & the most significant improvement is the bluetooth connectivity which means that the Libre 2 now has the ability for optional alerts for high and low blood glucose readings.
The FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor will measure glucose every minute and this is 5 times more readings than the other CGM devices on the market. The alarm is customizable and can be set for low and high blood sugar levels. The alerts are optional and can be switched off as needed, which will be useful for anyone prone to alert burnout, a common occurrence with those using the Dexcom CGM.
Can you get Freestyle Libre 2 on prescription?
This will vary depending on your country and reimbursement status, however, your GP, diabetes nurse, specialist and health care professional will be able to give you more insight into the process of getting hold of the FreeStyle Libre 2.
Is Libre 2 more accurate?
The FreeStyle Libre 2 Performs well when looking at the combined mean absolute relative difference (MARD). According to the American Diabetes Association, “the mean absolute relative difference (MARD) is currently the most common metric used to assess the performance of CGM systems. MARD is the average of the absolute error between all CGM values and matched reference values.” Meaning the accuracy of the Freestyle Libre 2 is unsurpassed. I personally found that the Libre has been more accurate than the Dexcom CGM I tried.
Can you shower, swim and get sweaty with Freestyle Libre 2?
Yes, just like the FreeStyle Libre 1, swimming and showering and exercising and all associated things involving sweat and wet things can be undertaken wearing a FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor. We highly recommend wearing an adhesive patch and it just so happens that our range of patches are specifically designed to protect your CGM while swimming and doing sweaty things and even just general daily activities.
To expand a little further on the whole wearing my CGM in the water issue. Normal showering and wading about in a pool will be fine. But in my experience, swimming properly in a pool or in the ocean, the Libre and other CGM’s just do not stand up to this type of activity and this is where Not Just a Patch CGM patches are essential.
The motion of the water flowing over the sensor consistently does lead to the sense of becoming loose. There is absolutely no way I could swim consistently for 30 minutes with an uncovered FreeStyle Libre sensor without it coming unstuck. In saying that, since I’ve been wearing a patch I’ve never had a sense I come loose on my arm. It is also reassuring to be able to monitor my blood glucose levels whilst swimming.
How much does Freestyle Libre 2 cost
In Australia it’s $92.50 AUD
In the UK it’s 44.95 GBP
In the USA it’s $70 USD
In Canada it’s $89 CAD
How to calibrate Libre 2
One of the advantages of the FreeStyle Libre 2 is that there is no need for calibration as there is with other CGM’s such as Dexcom and Medtronic. The FreeStyle Libre 2 is factory-calibrated and manufactured with minimal sensor-to-sensor variation, eliminating any need for finger prick calibration.
How often does Freestyle Libre 2 take readings? The FreeStyle Libre 2 will measure glucose every minute and this is 5 times more readings than the other CGM’s on the market.
Using your iPhone / smartphone with Libre 2 sensor
The FreeStyle Libre 2 just like the FreeStyle Libre 1 can be scanned with an application on your smartphone device. This is done using the FreeStyle Libre Link for iPhone and Android.
You can also now access LibreView, A cloud-based software solution for the FreeStyle Libre system which offers a range of reports around glucose patterns and control measures that you can use to spot and review your levels and help to improve your glucose management.
Do you need a new Reader?
The FreeStyle Libre 2 requires a new reader. Whilst you can still use the same smartphone application as you have been using you will need to get a new reader if this is something that you use. I personally use my reader for my FreeStyle Libre 1 quite often while I’m sitting at my desk or at home as I find it is much quicker and easier to scan using the reader than it is using the app on my smartphone.
It probably saves 2 to 3 seconds but I do find the application on my phone can sometimes be a bit slow to load and for this reason, I find it easier just to pick up the purpose-built reader and scan it and get an immediate result. So for this reason I will be getting a new Libre 2 reader.
Dr. Adil has been a speaker at various medical conferences and health awareness campaigns, where he shared his research and findings, and advocated for accurate medical knowledge. He has been featured in publications such as Cardiology & Vascular Research, The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, and The Lancet.
Rachael Baker is a leading Nurse Practitioner Credentialed Diabetes Educator (CDE) in Brisbane and is passionate about staying up to date with Diabetes Technology and optimising these tools to be implemented in a way that is helpful and practical for people living with Diabetes. Using a holistic approach, Rachael focuses on self-empowerment for individuals living with Diabetes and supports them to live a life without limits.