NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Freestyle Libre: what is it?

The Freestyle Libre is a flash glucose monitoring system which measures interstitial fluid glucose levels. A sensor, with a microfilament sited in the skin is placed on the back of the arm and the reader when passed over the sensor displays interstitial glucose levels. It is offered by the manufacturer as an alternative to regular finger pricking blood glucose testing. The sensor needs to be scanned every 8 hours to give a continuous record of glucose levels over time. A sensor must be replaced every 14 days. Current retail price for a sensor is £57.95.

Is it available on the NHS?

Specific advice has been received from the Scottish Diabetes Group which details those individuals who may be suitable for this technology. The advice emphasises that this product should only be initiated by secondary care diabetes specialist teams. The position of Freestyle Libre has yet to be established on the NHSGGC Formulary. Until that is agreed, it is strongly recommended that GPs do not prescribe.

Does this mean patients don’t need to monitor blood glucose?
No. Finger pricking blood glucose tests will still be required as interstitial fluid glucose readings are not as accurate as blood glucose.

Blood glucose monitoring is still required to confirm hypoglycaemia and at times of rapidly changing blood glucose or unexpected sensor results. Importantly; the DVLA has defined blood glucose self-monitoring requirements for patients treated with insulin who drive.


Patient Requests
Freestyle Libre is not clinically appropriate for all patients. Patient advocacy groups are also promoting the availability on the Drug Tariff. Diabetes teams and GPs should not prescribe this product until its position on NHSGGC Formulary is established. 

A number of patients purchase sensors with the readers supplied free from the manufacturer as part of trials with this technology. These patients may not be clinically suitable for use of this product and should not automatically have the sensors provided by the NHS.


Published 31/10/17