Freestyle Libre 2 with alarms and my experience

Advertising. I received the FreeStyle Libre 2 free of charge from Abbott for testing purposes. My contribution reflects my own opinion, is true and in no way influenced by Abbott.

Realizing a difference in my diabetes therapy

If you are following me on Instagram you may have noticed that I’m using a closed loop system – an App (AAPS) receives blood sugar values every 5 minutes, evaluates them and then controls my insulin pump. A huge dream came true for me and I don’t want to miss this technology anymore. Nevertheless, I notice an increasing dependency. Do I have my smartphone with me? Is the battery charged and does it last for my trip? Is my powerbank still charged? Is the Bluetooth connection still established? I don’t want to complain at all, but I used testing period of the Freestyle Libre 2 to pause my closed loop and to do another kind of diabetes therapy. I call it blood sugar surfing. This type of surfing requires regular monitoring of my blood sugar and would be a heavy burden for me without hypo- and hyper-alarms. This form of therapy is not in any schoolbook, but through the test phase of Freestyle Libre 2 I became aware of what I had done months or even years before without knowing it. Bevor I used the ‘artificial pancreas’ my sugar was 70 to 80 percent within the target range. So, neither I nor a doctor could know what I did to regulate my sugar.

Bloodsugar surfing

What do I mean by blood sugar surfing? When I ate something, I immediately entered the bolus units via the quick bolus function of my insulin pump without even thinking about counting carbohydrates in grams. I was always sure I didn’t need a bolus calculator. I was sure that I injected everything correctly. But what has become a habit over the years has been to pick up sweets as soon as my sugar starts dropping. Shortly before 80 mg/dL my sugar increased again and I stayed within the target range. I realized that I was injecting too much on a regular basis and that I was correcting too high values far too strongly and too often even though insulin was still working.

Even after I had gained this insight, while testing the Freestyle Libre 2 I fell back to my old patterns and to be honest this change was very pleasant. I was more aware of my body’s signals again and I could take more care of my actual diabetes instead of all the technology that sticks on and around my body. For these situations the alarms of the Libre 2 were extremely useful.

The Freestyle Libre 1 and 2 next to each other.

The difference between Freestyle Libre 1 and 2

I don’t need to say much about the visual look of Freestyle Libre 2. It is identical to the Libre 1, but according to Abbott, the Freestyle Libre 2 is more accurate than the Freestyle Libre 1. Since I hadn’t any problems with the accuracy with the Freestyle Libre 1, I can neither confirm nor disprove this. But the technology insight is different. The sensor and the reader have NFC and Bluetooth. Currently it is possible to be warned when a High or Low glucose reading was recognized. To get the actual blood sugar value you have to scan as usual. For those who are not ‘technical experts’ and extended the Libre with unofficial readers, this function is a clear and important advantage compared to the first version. Interesting is the way how or when the alarm is triggered. It only starts when the defined blood sugar limit is exceeded. Once the alarm is confirmed, there is no more alarm. In order to get a new alarm, the blood sugar reading needs to be in range again first. During the day I find this very good, because it leads to fewer alarms compared to CGMS. At night this can become a problem.

It’s a pity that Abbott’s own app and all unofficial transmitters like the BluCon or the MiaoMiao don’t work with the Freestlye Libre 2.

Escaping my diabetes routine

All in all, Freestyle Libre 2 and its alarms make everyday life even easier. In a way, the alarm is more like a reminder to scan the Libre. For me the test was valuable and showed me the dependency on the current algorithms in AndroidAPS. Even if the reorientation to other measuring systems is complex, I find it an enrichment. Therefore, I’m willing to change to other systems more often.

44 thoughts on “Freestyle Libre 2 with alarms and my experience

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a question regarding “Once the alarm is confirmed, there is no more alarm. In order to get a new alarm, the blood sugar reading needs to be in range again first.”

    Have you found a way to get a new alarm without going into the normal range?

    For example at night, it beeps once due to a high reading, then I inject insulin and sleep. I would expect it to start beeping again after half an hour if it is still high, which it doesn’t. That’s not very convenient.

    1. yes, I had the same experience. I hope that the libre app will have more settings, but for now I can’t see a solution for the alarms at night.

    2. I feel this is an important feature, recently I started using a new BluCon(it works with Libre 2) which Ambrosia started shipping in July with their app and it works like a charm, it will keep with the frequency you set in the app till you get into the range

    1. yes that is possible. You can change the glucose values for low and high alarms. You can also turn them off individually and setup an alarm for signal loss.

  2. Ich verwende seit einer Woche die Freestylelibre2-Sensoren und hatte seitdem schon zwei Unterzuckerungen. Die Ursache: die Messwerte liegen im Schnitt über 30% über den tatsächlichen Werten. Das gilt auch, nachdem ich den defekten Sensor gegen einen neuen ausgetauscht habe. Das Lesegerät ist in Ordnung, es liegt also an den falsch gemeldeten Daten. Ich kann nur jedem raten, dem System zu misstrauen und regelmäßig mit Teststreifen gegenzumessen!
    H. Gehlsen

    1. Das mit dem Gegenmessen find ich lästig. Eigentlich will ich mit dem ganzen Scheiß nichts mehr zu tun haben. Ich versuche, daß mir den ganz lästigen Kram Androidaps abnimmt. Das blöde ist, daß man öfter mal in Xdrip mit Kalibrierfunktion den Wert von Libelink anpassen muß, also Fingerstechen. Das Insulin müßte auch schnell sein (in 10 min volle Wirkung, höchstens aber 30 min lang, statt nach 10 min nur schwach und erst nach 45-60min volle 100Prozent Wirksamkeit).
      Dann könnte man zusammen mit einem sicheren Meßwert dem Aaps die Arbeit überlassen.
      Das libre2 gab auch schon mal falsche Alarme- hier fehlt die Kalibrierung. Eigentlich fehlt ein kleines System (künstl.Bauchsp.dr.) was ein nicht stört sowie die ganze lästige Diabetessache abnimmt.

  3. When is it coming to the USA?!? I’ve been type1 for 25 years and I’m thirty five now.

    1. Abbott already submitted Libre 2 for FDA approval. Hope is that they will get approval in next couple of months and probable start shipping Libre 2 soon after that. Good luck!!

    2. I was just informed it is coming out on August 1, 2020. You may already know this but to anyone else checking for info it may be helpful. I am switching to it and I can’t wait!!!

      1. hi Rachel- I have been trying to get info from Abbott, pharmacies, durable equipment suppliers, etc since the FDA approved it in June. Nobody has been able to give me an availability date. Where did you hear 15 Aug?

  4. I have just started to use Freestyle libre2 and have some starters problems. Firstly, that the freestyle always shows significantly higher values than my conventional measurements, even if the blood-sugar levels have been constant for 5-6 hours. Secondly, I get alarms ‘constantly’ indicating lost contact between the iPhone and sensor, having the iPone in my pocket less than 50cm from the sensor.

  5. Is your iPhone in a case that may affect bluetooth signal ? Is phone on same side as Libre ?

    Interesting that the discrepancy is constantly high, but how high is high in units ?

  6. wenn ich gegenmessen muss, wer verschreibt mir die Teststreifen-ein Arzt nicht er meint entweder Sensoren oder teststreifen.Beides gibt es nicht zusammen

    1. einen Satz Teststreifen MUSS der Arzt verschreiben, zahlt auch die Kasse. Du musst ja das Gerät kontrollieren.

  7. Abbott already submitted Libre 2 for FDA approval. Hope is that they will get approval in next couple of months and probable start shipping Libre 2 soon after that. Good luck!!

  8. Ich habe nun seit vier Tagen das Libre Free Style 2 und muss leider feststellen, dass dieses Gerät ganz und garnicht meinen Erwartungen entspricht. Da da Gerät permanent zu hohe Blutzuckerwerte ausweist und Alarm auslöst, habe ich auf herkömmlichen (Blut aus Fingerbeere) Weg meinen Zuckerwert zur Kontrolle gemessen. Bei ca. 10 Messungen lag dieser Wert um 30 bis 70 (!) unter dem Wert des Libre2. Hinzu kommt, dass der Akku schon nach 4 Tagen “den Geist aufgibt”. Wenn das die viel gepriesenen Innovationen sein sollen, dann möchte ich lieber wider mein altes Libre2 verwenden.
    Oder mache ich etwas falsch?
    Für eine Rückmeldung wäre ich Ihnen dankbar.
    Sie können mich unter 02361 21341 telefonisch erreichen.

    MfG Ghesla

  9. Wieso kann man die Werte aus der LibreLink App nicht an Apple Health weitergeben? So könnte ich die Werte mit Nahrungsaufnahme vergleichen und sinnvoll visualisieren. Die librelink und auch libreview sind funktional doch sehr eingeschränkt.

  10. Has anyone seen anything on failure rates? About 20% of the 14 day sensors don’t work for me for the full 14 days, either because of:

    Water entry into the system (I spend ten minutes in the Jacuzzi after working out)

    Falling off (four times now over about a year)

    Failure to Initialize (error code Er3, 306)

    Has nypne else had this experience?

    1. My failure rate is worst than yours. With the Libre 1 over the last 4 months my failure rate has been 50%. The issues ranged from no starts by far the most, falling off or incorrect reading with up to 100 pts off. Really hoping Libre 2 is better.

      1. I used to have regular similar problems on FSL sensors but these fixes seemed to work – no issues for well over a year now.
        For errors, I found I was pushing it on too hard at the start. It seemed to bend the needle a bit and wouldn’t give correct readings, either straight away or sometimes after a few days.
        For falling off, I found applying it with my arm bent at the elbow fixed it. Putting on a straight arm seems to put strain on the adhesive when you later bend your arm during day to day movements.
        Hope these help someone.

      2. The basis of my insulin schedule is based off the readings I am getting from my FSL2. I have found them at two different periods of time to be inaccurate by a range of 65-95 the first time (based on 5 readings), and 100 points the second time (based on two readings). The scores were recorded as lower on the FSL2 vs hospital equipment checks. I am curious as to how common these low readings are?

        I have had no problems with the sensors coming off or failing to work for the full 2 week periods.

  11. Hallo, der Gedanke daran nicht mehr täglich picksen zu müssen hat mich angetrieben diese Produkt unbedingt haben zu wollen. Aber die Ernüchterung und letzlich das Endsetzen über dieses fehlerhafte Produkt kam recht schnell. Zum einen ist es nicht für die köperlich arbeitenden Patieten geeignet, weil es ziemlich oft nach nur kurze Tragezeit wieder abfällt. Dann kamm es vor das der Messwert “Lo” anzeigte und ich voller Panik Traubenzucker zu mir nahm, nach einer darauf folgenden Gegenmessung mit meinem alten Messgerät (ACCU-CHEK) hatte ich einen Wert im roten Bereich. vielleicht sollte die Firma Abbot nochmal nachprüfen as sie dort auf den Markt bringen. Ich meinerseits werde meiner Krankenkasse empfehlen dieses Gerät nicht zu unterstützen!

  12. Ich machte mit dem FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor eine unangenehme Erfahrung. Als ich beim Ausgang eines Geschäftes durch die elektronische Schranke lief, ging plötzlich ein Alarm los. Auch bei anderen Geschäften machte ich die selbe, negative Erfahrung. Obwohl ich die Alarmfunktion auf der App ausschaltete, wurde der Alarm trotzdem wieder ausgelöst, als ich zur Kontrolle nochmals durch die Schranke lief.
    Kannn mir jemand helfen, wie ich dieses Problem zukünftig vermeiden kann?

    LG Charles

  13. I want freestyle libre2 for my son age 12yrs. I was informed that this device isn’t recommend for children below 18yrs is it true. I am from India is it available in India

    1. Libre 2 is approved for children as young as 4 years of. age. I hope you asked your Childs Endo about it.

  14. Instead of
    * Libre *manual* scanner/reader + LibreSensor 2 + Smartphone App with alarms (bluetooth)

    why not just use
    * MiaoMiao2 automatic reader + LibreSensor 1 (or 2 both are supported) + Smartphone App with alarms (bluetooth)

    In both case, it is the same (alarms on app with bluetooth ..) except the way the value are read.
    When comes to use alarms miamiao2 automatic and continuous reading value seems better and more convenient than have to manualy and non continuously scan your sensor.

  15. There is so much I like about the FreeStyle Libre: its small sensor, its simple and quick installation process, and its small reader are chief among them. But after months of using the Libre my endocrinologist steered me toward the Dexcom G6, and while I felt it was about a wash with the Libre, I stuck with it. I hardly noticed the alarms, thinking I’d had them with the Libre but never triggered them. Silly me!
    I did like the Dexcom monitor’s better screen. But the biggest thing I came to appreciate about the G6 was the fact that it takes glucose measurements without any intervention on the user’s part. No amount of forgetting, busyness or neglect can result in gaps in the glucose reading graph, and corresponding knowledge of glucose levels.
    It’s hard to believe that after all this time the Libre still does not have this feature.
    I didn’t find the Libre sensor’s 14-day endurance to be as big a win as I’d expected. Days 11–14 were always iffy in terms of whether the sensor could continue to hold on or not, even with “skin tack” and/or patches.

  16. This article was really nicely written, and it also contains several helpful details.. I was looking for questions to get the answer about these alarm system which got answered well. Great post indeed and really appreciable!!

  17. Hi, I am also having beginners problems with the libre2 sensor. It’s on and working but I get a constant alarm telling me that I have to scan the sensor again as the alarms are unacceptable as they have lost their connection. I have an android smart phone. All permissions are given. NFC working as well as Bluetooth, WiFi and normal Internet settings. Sometimes the alarm works and the Red warning triangle has gone but it seems to be a constant problem. All help would be really appreciated. Many thanks.


  19. My husband is Type 2 and just started using the Lbre2 system, tried 4 sensors before his 14 day cycle was finished. Inaccurate readings from actual finger sticks off a lot not 20 points more like nearly 100.
    Have called the Libre2 representatives but they are not techs just regular employees trying to sell they’re product. Waiting to see what his endocrinologist has to say at his next A1C visit. In the mean time using his old meter which is Prodigy meter and prodigy no coding sticks and a genteel device.

  20. Received a 3 month supply recently. The first 2 sensor did not work at all. The 3rd and 4th made the 14 days. 5th one made 10 days lost signal would not work. 6th one reader started the sensor. Can take reading try again in 10 minutes. Worst system ever. Going to try another system.

  21. I, too, have a big problem with bad readings. Most recently, my sensor was off by 100 points vs the hospital’s equipment…twice. This explains why I expected my A1C to be lower and it wasn’t. Because my scores were lower, I thought my A1C would show improvement. It didn’t. It was the same. I was confused. Bad scores explains it.

  22. After only four months of using the Libre 2 I replaced the sensors four times. One per month! The Abbott company did replace them. However, be sure you have a spare, time to call the company for a replacement, and expect future sensors to fail. Yes the price is lower, but their quality may also be lower. I hope Abbott addresses this issue.

  23. I want to change the low alarm setting default to 50-55. At 60 I am perfectly functional and do not want to get alarms at this value. Abbot helpdesk said it is not possible.
    Has anybody had experience in changing the settings?

  24. I have just started using the Libre 2 and agree the alarms are useful however when I wear my Apple Watch I do not get any audible alarm on my phone. I chose to use phone rather than the reader also the reader will not work at all if you scan with your phone first

  25. Is it possible to use my Libre2 reader on Libre1 sensors.
    I have been prescribed the new system but still have Libre1 sensors left and as I paid for these I would like to use these before I change to the new sensor

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