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Dexcom vs Freestyle Libre (New G7 vs Libre 3)

dexcom vs freestyle libre

The world of diabetes management has been revolutionized by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology.

As a diabetic, I’m very aware of the difficulty of how to manage blood glucose.

With the latest advancements in CGM systems, the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 are making waves in the diabetes community.

In this comprehensive comparison of Dexcom vs Freestyle Libre, I will explore the features, accuracy, cost, and more to help you make an informed decision about which CGM system is best suited for your needs.

cgm table

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Understanding CGM Technology

person wearing cgm

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have transformed the way individuals with diabetes manage their condition by providing real-time glucose data… even for Non-Diabetics.

The Dexcom G7 and Libre 3, two of the latest CGM models, offer improved accuracy, longer sensor life, and additional features compared to their previous versions.

But how do they differ from each other?

I’ll compare the common features of these CGMs and dive deeper into their respective differences.

Introduction to Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)

Continuous glucose monitoring involves a small sensor inserted into the skin, equipped with a transmitter that sends glucose level data to a receiver or mobile application on a smartphone.

This technology offers numerous advantages, such as maintaining glucose levels within a desired range and helping to prevent or delay long-term complications associated with diabetes.

The Dexcom G7 and Freestyle Libre 3 are two advanced CGM systems that have gained FDA-approval and offer various distinctions in terms of sensor design, application, accuracy, size, comfort, and more.

My Experience

As a Type 1 Diabetic, I know firsthand how much of a pain it is to monitor blood glucose readings. Proper blood sugar control is the only salvation for type 1, type 2 {a}, and even pre-diabetics. I know these both well, and it’s always more valuable to see advancements in the technology to make it easier to use.

So, which CGM system may be more suitable for you?

Common Features of Dexcom G7 and Libre 3

One notable feature of both the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 is their integrated sensor-transmitter design, which streamlines the application process and reduces packaging and plastic waste compared to earlier versions. Both devices also offer easy pairing with a smartphone by downloading the official app and following the provided instructions.

The Dexcom G7 has a Bluetooth range of 20 feet. On the other hand, the Libre 3 has a range of 33 feet. These features enable users to receive real-time glucose data on their smartphones, making diabetes management more efficient and convenient.

Comparing Dexcom and Freestyle Libre Models

dexcom vs freestyle libre wearing cgms

In this section, we will compare the sensor design, application, accuracy, size, and comfort of the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3. Understanding these differences will help you determine which CGM system may be more appropriate for your diabetes management needs.

G7 and Libre 3 Sensor Design and Application

Both the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 sensors are fully disposable and combine the sensor and transmitter into a single unit. The G7 is slightly larger and heavier, measuring 24 x 27.3x 4.6 mm, while the Libre 3 sensor 21(dia.) x 2.9(height) and weighs only 1 gram.

Despite the size difference, both sensors offer a convenient and compact experience.

Accuracy of Readings (MARD Score)

The Mean Absolute Relative Difference (MARD) {b}is a way to measure how accurately a CGM system measures the glucose levels. It is an important metric used to evaluate performance. The lower the MARD score, the more accurate the CGM system is.

Both the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 boast superior MARD scores compared to their preceding versions. The G7 has a MARD of 8.2% for adults wearing it on the arm, while the Libre 3 has a MARD of 9.3%.

In terms of data update frequency, the Libre 3 provides new glucose readings every minute, while the G7 offers updates every 5 minutes.

This difference in update frequency may be an important consideration for some users when choosing between these two systems.

Size and Comfort

The Dexcom G7 is 60% smaller than its predecessor, the G6, offering improved comfort and convenience for users.

Although the Libre 3 sensor is smaller than the G7, both sensors are designed to provide optimal performance and user satisfaction throughout their entire wear length.

Sensor Lifespan and Warm-up Time

Now let’s compare the sensor lifespan and warm-up time of the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3. These factors may impact your overall experience with each CGM system.

Sensor lifespan is an important factor to consider when choosing a CGM system. The Dexcom G7 has a sensor lifespan of up to 10 days, while the Libre 3 has a sensor lifespan of up to 14 days.

Dexcom sensor duration

The Dexcom G7 sensor is rated to last up to 10 days and requires a 30-minute warm-up period before it can provide accurate glucose readings. This warm-up period is the quickest of any CGM system available, offering a significant advantage to users who value immediate access to their glucose data.

The G7 sensor’s quick warm-up period is a major benefit for those who need to monitor their glucose levels quickly and accurately. With the G7, users can get reliable readings in just 30 minutes, compared to other CGM systems.

Freestyle Libre sensor duration

The Libre 3 sensor, on the other hand, boasts a longer 14-day lifespan and requires a 60-minute warm-up period before it can provide accurate glucose readings.

The increased longevity of Libre sensors results in fewer replacements, reducing the period of time spent wearing newly-applied sensors that may be less precise.

Usage, Age Requirements, and Placement

How about the usage, age requirements, and placement of the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 sensors?

These factors may influence your decision when choosing a CGM system that best fits your lifestyle and needs.

Usage of the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 sensors vary. The Dexcom G7 requires a two-hour warm-up period before use, while the Libre 3 does not. The Dexcom G7 is a very good product.

Dexcom usage and placement

The Dexcom G7 is approved for individuals aged 2 and above and can be worn on the upper arm, abdomen, or upper buttocks. It is waterproof and can be worn for up to 10 days, offering flexibility and convenience for users with active lifestyles.

Freestyle Libre usage and placement

The Freestyle Libre 3 is designed for continuous glucose monitoring in adults with diabetes and is approved for individuals aged 4 and above. It provides up to 5 glucose readings per minute for a maximum of 14 days and is capable of connecting to multiple devices.

The Libre 3 sensor is approved for use on the back of the upper arm, offering a discreet and comfortable placement option.

Accuracy and Data Update Frequency

Accuracy and data update frequency of the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 are key, or otherwise, why would they be an asset?

Understanding these differences will help you decide which CGM system may be more suitable for your diabetes management needs.

Dexcom accuracy and updates

The Dexcom G7 is the most accurate continuous glucose monitoring system available in the US, boasting a mean absolute relative difference (MARD) of 8.2% for adults wearing it on the arm.

It provides real-time glucose readings every 5 minutes and stores up to 8 hours of data, ensuring that you have access to the most up-to-date information for your diabetes management.

The G7 is easy to use and can be worn on the arm or abdomen, making it a great choice for those who want to monitor their glucose levels without having to constantly prick their fingers.

It also has a long battery life, lasting up to 10 days on a single charge. With that in mind.

Freestyle Libre accuracy and updates

Clinical trials and user reviews indicate that Freestyle Libre 3 readings are highly accurate, with an overall mean absolute difference (MARD) of 9.3%.

Although the Libre 3 takes glucose readings every minute, it only sends data to the user’s smartphone when the sensor is manually scanned.

This difference in data update frequency may be an important consideration for some users when choosing between these two systems.

Alarm Settings and Notifications

Now, stay alert!

The alarm settings and notifications available for the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3, can save your life.

Customizable alarms and notifications can enhance your experience with your CGM system, allowing you to manage your diabetes more effectively.

Alarms and notifications can be set to alert you when your glucose levels are too high or too low, when your glucose is trending up or down, or when you have not had a reading in a while.

Dexcom alarms

The Dexcom G7 offers customizable alarm settings that can be adjusted in the Profile > Settings. Alerts section of the app. This feature allows you to personalize the alarms based on your individual needs and preferences. Ensuring that you receive timely notifications to help manage your blood glucose levels.

g7 alerts

Freestyle Libre alarms

The Freestyle Libre 3 system provides optional low and high glucose alarms, signal loss alarms, and an obligatory urgent low glucose alarm.

Notifications will be sent only when the alarms are enabled and the sensor is within 33 feet of the reading device, with no obstructions.

libre 3 alarm settings

This feature offers flexibility and convenience for users who want to customize their alarm settings to better manage their diabetes.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Now the fun part 🤨, the costs and insurance coverage associated with the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3.

Understanding the financial implications of each CGM system can help inform your decision on which system is more suitable for your budget and lifestyle.

Dexcom costs

The Dexcom G7 costs approximately $378 per month, and is typically covered by most insurance plans.

The Dexcom G7 Simple Start program enables users to acquire G7 for $89/month from their local pharmacy and automatically initiates the standard co-pay once the user’s health plan adds G7 to their coverage.

Freestyle Libre costs

The monthly cost of Freestyle Libre 3 sensors is $132, and the retail price can range from $76.99 to $154 per sensor, depending on insurance coverage and location.

Those with insurance can anticipate paying $0-$75 per month, making it a more affordable option for some users.

Side Effects and Skin Reactions

Oh, how about those pesky side effects and skin reactions associated with the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3?

Understanding the potential risks and discomforts can help you make an informed decision about which CGM system is best suited for your needs.

cgm skin irritation
Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Dexcom side effects

The Dexcom G7 sensor may cause skin irritation, including itching, burning, and rashes, at the site of the adhesive patch.

To minimize the risk of skin irritation, it is recommended to clean the skin with oil-free, antimicrobial soap and dry thoroughly before application, and to avoid using any lotion or oil containing moisturizer where the sensor is inserted.

If significant skin irritation occurs, it is advised to consult a healthcare provider.

Freestyle Libre side effects

Potential side effects associated with the use of a Freestyle Libre 3 sensor include erythema, infection, inflammation, pain or discomfort, bleeding, bruising, itching, scarring, discoloration, hematoma, and irritation due to adhesive.

These risks should be considered when deciding which CGM system is appropriate for your needs.

Medication and Substance Interference

Medications and substances that may interfere with the accuracy of Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 readings.

Understanding these potential interactions can help you make an informed decision about which CGM system is most suitable for your diabetes management needs.

Dexcom interference

Certain medications, such as hydroxyurea, should not be co-administered with Dexcom G7.

Additionally, high doses of acetaminophen may lead to inaccurate Dexcom readings.

It is advised to consult your healthcare provider for medical advice if taking medications that may affect your Dexcom G7 readings.

Freestyle Libre interference

It is advisable to avoid vitamins or supplements containing vitamin C while wearing a Freestyle Libre 3 sensor, as they may interfere with the accuracy of glucose readings.

If you are uncertain whether a vitamin or supplement includes vitamin C while wearing a Libre 3, it is advisable to consult your pharmacist.

Software and Connectivity

The Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 both offer their own respective apps that are compatible with select Android and Apple devices, allowing users to easily access their glucose data on their smartphones.

Both devices also offer connection to compatible devices via Bluetooth, ensuring seamless data transfer and accessibility.

Integration with Insulin Pumps and Other Devices

Both Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 are currently not approved for use in an automated insulin dosing system.

However, both Dexcom and Abbott are actively working on integrating their CGM systems with insulin pumps and dosing algorithms, with Dexcom having a notable advantage in this area.

Abbott has also received FDA clearance for use with automated insulin delivery systems, indicating progress in their efforts to integrate with other devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

It appears that Dexcom G7 is more accurate than the FSL; its MARD rating of 8.2% vs 9.2% of the FSL

These two continue to be market leaders, and what I feel is the main difference as well as importance is the accuracy.

Dexcom cost per month typically ranges from around $120 to $400 depending on the patient’s insurance provider, and if the patient is able to take advantage of lower monthly payments by joining the Dexcom G7 program.

On average, the FreeStyle Libre System costs around $180-200 per month for individuals who don’t have insurance coverage. This cost includes both the reader and sensors, which typically come in packs of two or four. With insurance coverage, the cost may be substantially lower.

Bottom Line: Dexcom G7 vs Libre 3

Both the Dexcom G7 and Libre 3 offer advanced features, improved accuracy, and varying sensor life spans, making them popular choices for individuals with diabetes.

The G7 boasts a faster warm-up time, higher MARD score, and broader age range approval, while the Libre 3 offers a longer sensor life and potentially lower costs.

Ultimately, the choice between these two CGM systems will depend on your individual preferences and needs, but the most important insight is gathering the information of how food impacts blood glucose.

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