Diabetes Self-Management Blog

A new continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS), the Freestyle Navigator manufactured by Abbott Diabetes Care, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people with diabetes who are 18 and older.

Continuous glucose monitors are devices that help people track their glucose levels continually. While some details vary from system to system, all systems consist of a sensor worn under the skin that transmits information about the body’s glucose levels to a receiver. The receiver displays frequently updated glucose readings and stores information about changes in glucose levels over time. CGMS devices can also be programmed to set off alarms when glucose levels become too low or too high.

The FreeStyle Navigator, which was approved in Europe last June, has the following features.

Equipment:

  • One sensor can be worn for up to five days on the back of the upper arm or on the abdomen.
  • The sensors are water-resistant in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes and can be worn during exercise, bathing, and swimming.
  • The receiver can receive wireless transmissions from up to 10 feet away, so it does not have to be on the body at all times.
  • The system incorporates a built-in FreeStyle blood glucose meter to be used for system calibration and to confirm blood glucose levels before making treatment decisions.
  • The system uses two AAA batteries.

Function:

  • Glucose levels are measured once per minute.
  • Adjustable high and low glucose alarms can be set to warn users 10, 20, or 30 minutes before they are likely to be too high or too low.
  • The display uses five directional arrows to help users see which way their glucose level is trending.
  • The system stores up to 60 days of glucose information.

According to a press release from Abbott, a study of 123 people using the Freestyle Navigator system at home found that people with Type 1 diabetes experienced less hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and people with Type 2 diabetes experienced less hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) when using the system.

The Freestyle Navigator is projected to become available for purchase in the second quarter of this year; according to company representatives, the system will cost approximately $1,000, and a one-month supply of sensors (six per pack) will cost approximately $375. People can learn more about the system and begin the purchasing process (which includes getting a doctor’s prescription) at www.continuousmonitor.com.

Other continuous glucose monitors currently on the market are the Seven Continuous Glucose Monitoring System made by DexCom, the Guardian REAL-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring System made by by Medtronic MiniMed, and the Paradigm REAL-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, also from Medtronic MiniMed, in which the receiver is combined with an insulin pump.

You can find more information about continuous glucose monitoring in the following articles and news stories on Diabetes Self-Management.com:
“Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Getting Started”
“Seven-Day Continuous Glucose Monitor Approved”
“Continuous Glucose Monitoring Approved for Kids”
“Continuous Glucose Monitoring Improves Diabetes Control”

For firsthand accounts of continuous glucose monitoring, check out the blog entries ”New Monitoring Technology Brings Movies Instead of Snapshots” by Jan Chait and ”Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Me” by Eric Lagergren. In addition, the blog Diabetes Self-Care is written by Wendy Morgan, who participated in a trial of the FreeStyle Navigator. Scroll down to read her entries from 2006 and 2007, which contain many descriptions and pictures of her experience with the device.

If you have used the Freestyle Navigator or any of the other continuous glucose monitoring systems, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below.

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Comments
  1. I have been using the Guardian CGM system for over a month and I am hooked! I feel in control like I have never been before.

    It took a couple of tries to get the sensor and transmitter going - I actually had to have the transmitter replaced - but now it works fine. I am not bothered by needles (how could any diabetic be not used to them?) so the insertion was not a problem. It does require a lot of “stuff” to carry with you between supplies for your pump and now the sensor, charger, insertor, alcohol, and bandages.

    I love being able to see the trends of my BG. I can now tell how some foods effect me and have decided that some are just not worth it. Also, I have become more attuned to how I feel as relates to my BG number.

    Luckily, my insurance covers my supplies (except for the tape @ $63 a box)

    Posted by grandmutter |
  2. I was fired up to buy one of these for my husband. he has been type I for more than 20 years, retired military, still runs, lifts weights. BUT he has a lot of scarey hypoglycemic episodes and I am worried for him. The cost of the device slowed me for a moment but the cost per month for the sensors froze me in my tracks! I am so disappointed in the cost. We have Tricare, I doubt if the cost would be covered. Will have to wait for the cost to come down.

    Posted by northgirl |
  3. Unfortunately the Navigator has problems calibrating itself to my actual blood sugar- it fails the calibration test about half the time and then beeps and continues to harass me into getting a successful calibration. All the joy I experienced at getting real time continuous levels was destroyed by the difficult time the navigator has passing its calibration tests. Most unfortunate- in creating a product that is supposed to take the stress out of diabetes care they have increased my stress when finding the device not working correctly. I’m not sure how in the world the FDA approved this monster.

    Posted by Sid57x |
  4. Hi
    could any one tell me the overall cost of FreeStyle Navigator CGMS or any other CGMS system.
    thanks in advance

    Posted by azmat khan |
  5. Asmat, the Freestyle Navigator is about $1,200 and six sensors are about $340 (~$11 per day). The Dexcom is something like $800, and four sensors for $240 (~$9 per day). I’m not familiar with Medtronic MiniMed’s costs. The actual cost depends on if you can find a special, or if your insurance covers it. Costs seem to run all over the place. I got a Navigator for $550 (cash price) because I have a Cozmo pump. If I paid cash through my insurance company’s preferred provider, it would cost something like $2,000. I have no idea what the negotiated price is because I chose not to take that route. Dexcom has been known to sell its CGMS for $400.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Chait |
  6. I have had the Freestyle Navigator for over one month and it has made a tremendous impact on my BG levels. I have learned many things about my diabetes, like the fact that I learned that I need to take my insulin about 20 minutes before my meal. My only issue is that the sensors are more expensive than I expected. Right now, they are running me about $450 per month. I might start going off of them for a few days in between each sensor’s usage just to reduce my total annual cost.

    Posted by anonymous |
  7. Diabeteic 56 years. Don’t have pump. Last A1H-5.9
    Have desperate need fot CGM. Have looked into Freestyle Navigator because it is the newest and has smaller senser.
    I have Medcare Plus Blue (BC/BS) and they have denied me. Am in the process of appealing. Need advice.
    Thanks,
    Jim

    Posted by Jim |
  8. Looking forward to receving my meter

    Posted by kevin kane |
  9. This would be so great for newly diagnosed diabetics and it would be even better if they could be “rented” from medical supply business’.
    I have been a diagnosed diabetic for 6 months now (T2) and have had a hard time getting my morning BS levels evened out. Before i can barely open my eyes it has shot to 200+ and then I am almost afraid to eat but a small amount of food does level it off. I have now started using 4 units of Humalog insulin as soon as I get up which I hate to do but feel it is necessary for my healths sake. The remainder of the day my BS is good (of course I watch my diet and take Metformin at bedtime)and I have only had to use insulin once in the evenings since Sept. 09. My doctor has me on a sliding scale for insulin. This is all new to me and one of these monitors to use for a few months for new diabetic would be a great in helping them to get control of their BS levels.
    Of course I am sure Medicare does not cover these.

    Posted by SRose |
  10. Hi, i`m from romania and i have been diagnosed of diaberic T1. I have a pump from medtronic minimed whit glucose monitor. Now.. i have a problem my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGMs) that plastic whit flesh-colored i broke..anyway i want to by some one new. Can you help me? An ideea something? where can I buy one ?

    Posted by armand |

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