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Abbotts new FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System
The FDA has approved a device from Abbott that continuously monitors diabetic's blood sugar levels without requiring backup finger prick tests. The pain of finger sticks and the cost of testing supplies discourage many people from keeping close tabs on their blood sugar, which is needed to manage insulin use and adjust what they eat. Abbotts new FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, approved Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, uses a small sensor attached to the upper arm. Patients wave a reader device over it to see the current blood sugar level and changes over the past eight hours. Abbotts device was approved for adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and should be available in pharmacies within months. The company, based near Chicago, did not disclose the price of the reader or the sensors. Abbotts system can’t be used with an insulin pump, a device worn against the skin that allows users to inject insulin as needed, but the company is planning improvements to eventually enable that. Rival Medtronic this spring launched a device in which the insulin pump automatically responds to blood sugar changes recorded by the sensor and either withholds or injects insulin as needed.