The FreeStyle Libre 2 Is Now Approved: How Is It Different Than the First?

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Systems

The FreeStyle Libre has been on the market for several years now, and used by a ton of folks living with diabetes worldwide. The sensor lasts two weeks, and the user can get a glucose value by scanning the sensor (typically worn on the back of the upper arm) with a reader or a smart phone. The current glucose value (which is measured every minute) is displayed upon scanning, along with a trend arrow indicating the direction of glucose change and a tracing of the glucose numbers over the last eight hours. The data can also be downloaded for more extensive analysis such as mean glucose, glucose management indicator (GMI), time in range (TIR), etc. for the person living with diabetes primarily and his or her health care provider secondarily.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 Has Several Advancements:
1. Customizable, Optional Real-Time Alarms

This in my opinion is the biggest advancement of the FreeStyle Libre 2. Your low alarm can be set between 60-100 mg/dl and your high alert between 120 and 400mg/dl. The user will get an auditory alert (or a vibration) which will prompt him or her to scan their sensor with the reader to get the glucose value. These alerts are optional and all of them can be turned off. For folks with T1D, these alerts are essential to improve your TIR and importantly time below range (TBR). I suggest the low alert for most people to be 80mg/dl as there may be a lag period on the way down, meaning that when you hit your low alert level you may be in reality significantly lower depending on how fast you are dropping. The high alert for most folks should be 180 to 200mg/dl. There are circumstances when you may want to alter these alerts depending on individual circumstances.

2. iCGM Designation

The FreeStyle Libre 2 received the iCGM designation from the FDA, which means there can be digital communication between the FreeStyle Libre 2 and other devices such as smart phones, insulin pumps, smart pens, etc. At the current time, the FreeStyle Libre 2 is not indicated to be used in automated insulin delivery systems (e.g. hybrid closed loop) because of vitamin C supplement effects on glucose readings (it can give an artificially high value with large doses of vitamin C). Once that issue is addressed, it will likely be able to be used with hybrid closed loop systems. Collaborations with Tandem, Insulet and Bigfoot have been announced already.

3. Approved for Kids as Young as 4 Years Old

In reality, parents of very young kids have been using these CGM devices as young as 4 months old and it has been nothing short of a godsend!

The FreeStyle Libre 2 has the same lower price point as the first FreeStyle Libre system, and can be acquired from pharmacies with a prescription. You will need a new FreeStyle Libre 2 reader and sensors, and the smart phone app (to replace the need for the reader) will be coming soon. Please visit the FreeStyle Libre 2 website for more detailed and important information about the functionality, accuracy, warnings, precautions, etc.

The optional and customizable high and low alerts are a huge advancement over the Libre 1, and will help people living with diabetes avoid the unpredictable highs and lows of living with this condition.

When Can You Get It?

No release date has been announced, but you can sign up here to be notified when it will be available in the U.S.

67 Comments
  1. Avatar

    plse notify me once the libra 2 system is available at walmart or walgreen pharmacies

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    does this mean i do not need to scan the sensor with my phone manually and that it automatically goes to my phone continuously or does the data only get pushed when i manually scan with my phone

    • The only difference between the Libre 1 and 2 is that the 2 will give an alarm when you hit your high and low target and then you have to scan. It does not continuously go to your phone. Also the 2 will need a scanner for now since the scanning phone app is not ready yet.

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      I am on the freestyle libre and there is an app for the freestyle libre system it’s free to download in your App Store so check it out

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        No, the App is NOT compatible with the new Freestyle 2 sensors. I have the new system, and the phone will detect them but will not read them and indicates that they are not compatible. This was not made clear before I purchased the system.

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    The 2 is now available at Walgreens, but my insurance company (Regence) is saying the 2 is a medical device and they won’t cover it, unlike the 1 which they covered fully. Doesn’t make any sense to me!

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      Hi Chris, you may want to contact Abbott’s customer care team and see if they can assist in any way: https://www.freestylelibre.us/contact-us.html

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      Does the Freestyle libre 2 use neo test strips ?

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        Hi Michelle,
        You don’t do fingersticks with the Freestyle Libre 2. You can read more about the product here: https://www.freestylelibre.us/system-overview/freestyle-libre-2.html

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          The Freestyle Libre 14-day uses Neo Precision test strips for blood tests (in addition to the arm scanner).

          Does the Freestyle Libre 2 also use the Neo Precision test strips (in addition to the arm scanner)?

        • Avatar

          I feel that the “You don’t do fingersticks with the Freestyle Libre 2…” a over optimistic. However, I will test this for my self when I get the upgrade in about a week or so.

          Libre 1 is woefully bad for accuracy and I cannot see that 2 will be much better.

          Sensor readings with 1 can 100 while test strip can report 150. I have 2000 readings in a report that show that the libre1 was not reliable if you are on the sliding scal2.

  4. Avatar

    Is there any software to copy the data from libre 2 to windows 10 pc 0r a galaxy 8+ phone. Customer service told me today no software currently available for Libre 2 just older libre 14 day and 10 day models.

    • Abbott would have the latest info on that, but since the Libre 2 was just released in the U.S., hopefully it will be coming soon!

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    I’m assuming the reader for libre 1 does not work for the libre 2, yes?

    • Correct – each system works with its own components. If you would like more information, the Abbott customer service team is very helpful and can be reached by calling 855-632-8658 or visiting them online: https://www.freestylelibre.us/contact-us.html

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      My libre 14 is running about 30 – 60 points lower then the finger sticks am I doing something wrong

      • Avatar

        Probably not. I used the original libre when it came out here in Europe and found it to be entirely random – sometimes the result was wildly out and sometimes spot on. This could have something to do with the difference between a whole blood reading (that’s what the traditional finger prick meters use) and interstitial fluid reading which is typically 15 minutes behind the whole blood value and the method used by the libre). That said, I found the libre to be dangerously inaccurate on several occasions – usually within the first couple of days of starting a new sensor – and generally very poor value for money as the sensors rarely lasted 2 weeks and either fell off or stopped working – especially since I was bearing the entire financial cost. I also found Abbott’s customer service where I live to be atrocious. Once they had my money they were entirely disinterested. I’m back to using a traditional finger prick meter which is a lot more accurate and a lot cheaper as well.
        To answer your question though – no, you’re not doing anything wrong. I would take the libre readings and finger stick readings and compare the trends of both as I found that as a tool for looking at the trends of my blood glucose meter it was pretty good. At giving me an immediate and totally accurate reading, it was a bit hit and miss – I’d trust my instincts above the libre and confirm them with a finger prick reading.

        • The Libre has improved greatly over the past few years, including the new Libre 2. It has been shown with any CGM device that the first 24 hours might be more inaccurate than the rest of the life of the sensor. Until you gain confidence in the Libre, check your blood sugar with a meter when you’re dosing insulin.

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        Sometimes I get readings that even farther out than that. Sometimes much higher, some times much lower.

  6. Avatar

    My husband has the freestyle libre 2. Is there a way to share reading with family members?

    • Avatar

      Hi Stacy,

      There’s info on this on the Support/FAQ page of the Freestyle Libre website:

      https://www.freestylelibre.us
      https://www.freestylelibre.us/support/faq.html

      In a nutshell, here is what they say:

      LibreLinkUp1 is a free mobile app that allows caregivers to receive glucose readings from a FreeStyle LibreLink2,3 user who uses the FreeStyle LibreLink app to scan their FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors. Once you have installed the LibreLinkUp app4,5 and accepted an invitation to connect from a FreeStyle LibreLink user, you will receive their glucose information on your smartphone each time the FreeStyle LibreLink user scans his/her FreeStyle Libre or FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor. As long as you have opened and signed into the LibreLinkUp app at least once, you will receive notifications even if you have closed out of the app. The LibreLinkUp app does not need to be open or running for you to receive notifications; the notifications can be sent to your phone’s lock screen. LibreLinkUp is a mobile application, developed and provided by Newyu, Inc. Use of FreeStyle LibreLink requires registration with LibreView, a service provided by Abbott and Newyu, Inc. The FreeStyle LibreLink app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check our compatibility guide for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of LibreLinkUp requires registration with LibreView, a service provided Newyu, Inc. The LibreLinkUp app is only compatible with certain mobile device and operating systems. Please check http://www.librelinkup.com for more information about device compatibility before using the app.

  7. Avatar

    Abbott’s FreeStyle Leibre 2 is letting down the U.S. lower middle class in not providing a cell phone app for android phones. Being left hanging, as their reader does not speak to a blind person… I am dependent on a phone at my price-point to speak my results.

  8. Avatar

    Some things they do not tell you, or at least it is not clear. The LIbre 2 does not work with cell phones as a reader. You have to buy a $150 reader separately. However the Freestyle 14 day works with a cell phone but only with certain cell phones (really old ones). Notwithstanding what they say on their website, Medicare will not pay for any of this.

    We now have a $34 sensor stuck on my 89 year old father with the options of either buying an expensive reader, or figuring out how to get the thing off of him throw it out and get the 14 day version and see if that will work with a phone.

    Not real happy with this system. Maybe it will eventually work but be prepared to spent a LOT of money have to throw things out and buy different ones and spend a lot of time with support trying to get anything to work.

  9. Avatar

    Actually Medicare DOES cover these systems. However, Medicare requires that the reader be used for scanning at least some of the time. Therefore, you do have to get the reader, but again Medicare DOES cover these. Although, Medicare requirements for coverage of these systems are significant and some diabetics may not be eligible.
    Medicare requires:
    Must be diabetic, on insulin 3+ times per day, have been testing with strips 4+ times per day, require frequent insulin dose changes, and have in-person visit with prescriber every 6 months to assess diabetes and glucose monitoring.
    Also, Medicare will not cover standard glucose monitoring supplies in the same period. One or the other.

  10. Avatar

    And the cell phone app for Libre 2 is currently pending FDA approval. They cant release it without that approval.

  11. Avatar

    When will the app be available. The main reason i got a libre was to be able to scan it with my phone. This was the one my dr prescribed, so should i go to the older ones or will the app be available soon?

  12. Avatar

    what can you do with the old seasor and plug in plus the reader – can they be used by less fortunate people in 3rd world countries

    • Avatar

      Hi Sandy,
      That is very kind of you to think about donating your supplies. It may be easiest to first google free clinics in your area to see if they could use them.

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    I’m not really seeing the benefit from Libre to Libre 2. If it only alarms once you’ve scanned, how is that any better than just reading your number and knowing from that if you’re hi or low? The alarms would surely just become irritating and have no added value?🤷‍♀️

    • Avatar

      Hi Karen,
      The Libre will give you an alarm that is intended to prompt you to then scan to see what your blood sugar number is. Here is the paragraph from Dr. Edelman that explains it in more detail:

      This in my opinion is the biggest advancement of the FreeStyle Libre 2. Your low alarm can be set between 60-100 mg/dl and your high alert between 120 and 400mg/dl. The user will get an auditory alert (or a vibration) which will prompt him or her to scan their sensor with the reader to get the glucose value. These alerts are optional and all of them can be turned off. For folks with T1D, these alerts are essential to improve your TIR and importantly time below range (TBR). I suggest the low alert for most people to be 80mg/dl as there may be a lag period on the way down, meaning that when you hit your low alert level you may be in reality significantly lower depending on how fast you are dropping. The high alert for most folks should be 180 to 200mg/dl. There are circumstances when you may want to alter these alerts depending on individual circumstances.

  14. Avatar

    So angry at myself for not doing my due diligence and realizing the phone app wasn’t available! This is 2020 — almost 2021 — it is ridiculous to have to drag around the reader everywhere I go. I would never have upgraded from the prior model if I understood this limitation. And it has been out since July — this is November — when the heck will the FDA approval on the app be received?

  15. Avatar

    Hi all, Just to clarify. Does the Alarm function work by “auto-detecting” if the blood levels are reducing/increasing above/below what you have set them at? If this is the case, then it’s a great feature which will wake you up in the night if levels are going down. Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar

      Yes, as long as the reader is within 20 feet of your sensor. I put my reader on my nightstand when I’m asleep or in my pocket during the day. It will notify me when my BG is approaching my alarm target settings and is within a few points away depending on the rate of the drop or rise. Once the alarm goes off, I just scan my sensor go get the reading.

  16. Just picked up three sensors and applied one to my husbands arm. The sensor will not scan. We have the Libra 2 scanner and the pharmacist gave us the libre 14 day supply. Do we need different sensors or can you tell me how to get it to work?

    • Hi Sharon,
      It would be best if you contact Abbott/Freestyle Libre customer support directly at 855-632-8658. We are also hosting a conference on Saturday (12/12/20) from 8am-4pm pacific time and the Freestyle Libre reps will be doing live demos and answering questions. Registration is free and you can sign up here: https://tcoyd.org/tcoyd-dec-2020/

  17. Avatar

    My sister uses the the original freestyle libre & is requies to test at least 4X a day but this last month 2 of the sensors have fallen off her arm after only being on 4-5 so is there a way other than out of pocket to get another one?

    • Hi Linda, you should definitely call Abbott customer support at 855-632-8658.

    • Avatar

      Very important to clean the skin thoroughly with the wipes provided, people who regularly swim with them on have no problems, however you can purchase special extra stickers to really make sure. I have used these for over 2yeara and never had ant come off yet. Suggest you really take care cleaning the spot AND waiting until it dries before application

      • Avatar

        Each sensor is issued with two sealed alcohol wipes. I use both sides of one and open it at the fold to present two more sides. Then the second wipe is used in the same way. This gives you 8 passages to be sure the area is thoroughly free of skin oils. Since I started using this method, I have had not had a single one to pop off.

  18. Avatar

    Is the sensor the same for freestyle libre and freestyle libre 2?

  19. Avatar

    Is there improvements in security controls of this device?

  20. Avatar

    Any feedback, I have the 14 day sensor using Pohne App. Of last 2 months, I get sensor errors all the time. I go some days without readings.
    Anyone else having similar problems.

  21. Avatar

    When will the app for Android be available for Libre 2? Getting tired of having to wear clothes with pockets to carry the reader around. I will switch to Dexcom soon if that device has software and an app.

  22. Avatar

    I was have been using the FreeStyle libre for over 3 months now. I have been paying out of pocket. Today I placed my sensor in and it states that is not compatible. I noticed that the box said 2. It would have been great to have an app updated or something to make it easier. The pharmacy, of course, can’t refund and it is very hard to contact anyone with the FreeStyle Libre Company. Is there any way I can a replacement for the one I wasted my money on that is not compatible with the current app?

  23. Avatar

    I stopped using Libre Sensor 1 when i got inaccurate readings , the sensor said sugar lvl was 7 and the finger prick later revealed my actual suagr level to be 3 … for myself as a driver is the difference between losing my licence and keeping it , possibly killing myself and others. can you tell me if the Libre 2 is any more accurate , it concerns me that the sensor is accepted by Police to say if you are fit to drive or not . please understand this is only my experience with the sensor and would love the problems to be solved for convenience but i cannot risk my life just for convenience.

    • I sincerely understand your concerns. Abbott is well aware of inaccuracies with their Libre sensor, and according to their recent publications, they have improved the accuracy. I would keep the information about the lot number or serial number of each sensor until it has proven to be accurate, and if it’s not accurate, call FreeStyle Libre’s 800 number and have them send you a new sensor. You also could try a different CGM with alerts and alarms.

      • Avatar

        For the last 75 sensors, I have all the sensor specs including Code, Serial Number, Lot Number, Date to expire, with the first and last date of use.

        I am in the process of changing over to the new sensor and will continue to look for improvement.

        I am now generating a graph for each sensor to compare its scanning value with test strip reading. Some sensors are surprising accurate for the two weeks. Many are incredibly poor. I can go back and generate graphs for the old ones. Maybe now they will listen to me when I try to tell them that there are real accuracy problems and not just the 15 minute difference between sensor and blood readings.

  24. Avatar

    I have used 90 sensors so far with few problems however I would never rely on the sensor readings. I check each one with a test-strip and finger prick. Readings can be drastically different.

    I will be changing over the the Libre 2 sensor/monitor and will continue to perform the tests. IT will be interesting to see if the accuracy improves.

  25. Avatar

    Then why bother with a Libre sensor, you may as well stick to the old fashioned and very inconvenient finger pricking.

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      I take it that you have not been using sensors very long. There are benefits that weigh against the inaccuracy problem.

  26. Avatar

    Hi, could you please advise whether Libre 2 reader works with Libre 1 sensors ?

    • Avatar

      According to Abbott, the Libre 2 reader only works with the Libre 2 sensor.

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    When the app becomes available, will I still use the reader? If I do not get the 2 before the app is available, will I still be able to start with the reader?

    Will I have to use an app or phone? Can the readings go directly to my computer?
    My phone is doing some rather stupid tricks lately. I don’t want it to interfere with my readings.

    • When the app becomes available, you will not need the reader…your cell phone will become your reader. You will still need a phone with the app because you’ll need to swipe over the sensor. If you get the FreeStyle Libre 2 before the app is available, you can just use the reader.

  28. Avatar

    So my husband started using the Freestyle Libre last Sunday and 6 days later the sensor said it needed to be replaced. We replaced it and used his iPhone to scan after we put the sensor on. Now the Freestyle Libre reader says “the sensor you just scanned was started by another reader and cannot be used with this one”. We’re we supposed to use the reader first and then the phone? Not sure why this happened.

  29. Avatar

    I just found out that Libre 1 is the one with the application. Libre 2 uses only the reader. I just got off the phone with Abbot and they verified this.

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