FreeStyle Libre Approved by FDA for Hospitalized Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic
Editor’s Note: We have a simple goal: tap into the power of the global diabetes community to save lives. Visit coronavirusdiabetes.org to learn more about what you can do as a person with diabetes to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 until we’re all safe.
This article was published in April 2020.
On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Abbott announced their FreeStyle Libre 14 day system has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in hospitalized patients with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow frontline healthcare workers to remotely monitor patients with diabetes receiving inpatient care by assessing real-time blood glucose levels and history and minimize their own exposure to the virus and preserve use of personal protective equipment (PPE). More than 50 percent of people with diabetes who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are hospitalized, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
“There’s been a spike in demand for health technology as hospitals are looking for ways to minimize COVID-19 exposure, especially to high-risk patients such as people with chronic conditions like diabetes,” said Eugene E. Wright, Jr., M.D., medical director for performance improvement, Charlotte Area Health Education Center in North Carolina. “Having access to technology like FreeStyle Libre 14 day system allows physicians to keep a close eye on hospitalized patients while minimizing transmission risks, PPE use and contact with hospital staff.”
Abbott will donate 25,000 FreeStyle Libre 14 Day sensors to hospitals, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Insulin for Life USA and the Diabetes Response Coalition (DDRC). In the weeks since the crisis, there have been many questions on how the pandemic will impact people with diabetes. Through organizations such as the DDRC, people with diabetes can learn how to take other steps to prepare for an emergency such as getting insulin and other diabetes supplies.
“As the entire world faces one of the worst pandemics of recent times, we have to make sure the diabetes community is educated and prepared for any possible issues. The DDRC’s mission is to ensure people living with diabetes have the necessary resources and information before, during and after any disaster. Although COVID-19 is not a natural disaster, it does impact us all directly and we want to be able to provide the vital information our community needs,” said Mila Ferrer, Beyond Type 1 project manager and DDRC Liaison, in an article published at the beginning of the pandemic.
The timely and swift decision by the FDA is welcomed by members of the Abbott Diabetes Care team. We appreciate the FDA’s quick action to make medical products available during this public health crisis,” said Jared Watkin, senior vice president, Diabetes Care, Abbott. “By working with our partners at the American Diabetes Association to arm frontline healthcare workers with FreeStyle Libre technology, Abbott will enable them to protect and monitor their patients with diabetes, limit COVID-19 exposure and also manage the influx of critical care needs.”
As an alternative to traditional fingersticks, the FreeStyle Libre 14 day system allows users to wear a sensor on the back of the upper arm to track their blood glucose readings on a continuous basis. With a one-second scan, users get real-time blood glucose readings every minute, historical trends and patterns. The reader also displays a trending arrow of where blood glucose levels are going. With LibreView, physicians can also receive real-time blood glucose data and actionable information to make important treatment decisions.
For more information on continuous glucose monitoring technology, including how it benefits people with type 1 diabetes, click here.
For more resources for people with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic, see our coverage here.