For the last year, Diabetes Self-Management has been following all the new innovations and products aimed at helping to improve the lives of those living with diabetes. From the latest glucometers and monitoring systems to insulin pumps, pens, and treatments, several major advancements made their impact on the diabetes community in 2016.
When selecting some of the new products, we first talked to Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Scheiner, known as the MacGyver of diabetes products, has lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years. He tries out new products before recommending them to patients. “It’s important to see new products from the user’s point of view, not just from the [health-care practitioner’s] side of things,” said Scheiner.
In 2016, the pace of innovation continued to race ahead with unbelievable technology right out of a Star Trek episode. The growing use of smartphone technology and mobile applications has led to better access to blood glucose readings, general health information, and much more. Read on to learn about the newest products. We guarantee you there’s something here for everyone, whether you live with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
In this installment, we look at glucometers and CGMs that have recently hit the market.
Glucometers and CGMs
With the FDA’s approval of Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, people with Type 1 diabetes will have the option of the first hybrid closed-loop insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system. According to study results, the MiniMed 670G will reduce time at dangerous high and low blood glucose levels, improve time in range, reduce glucose variability, bring much greater nighttime safety, and target morning blood glucose.
“The 670G is not a ‘cure’ and still requires some effort by users, but it is a very welcome advance that will make insulin therapy safer and easier for many people with diabetes,” said Hooman Hakami, executive vice president and group president of Medtronic Diabetes.
The 670G is an upgrade from the MiniMed 630G system that was launched in August. Using technology dubbed SmartGuard HCL, the system automatically adjusts the delivery of long-acting or basal insulin based on the user’s glucose reading. It enables greater glucose control and reduced user input. The system delivers a variable rate of insulin 24 hours a day based on the personalized needs of the individual, maximizing the time glucose levels are within the target range. It is designed to “learn” an individual’s insulin needs and take action to minimize both high and low glucose levels. As a result, the system requires minimal input — users only need to enter mealtime carbohydrates, accept bolus correction recommendations, and periodically calibrate the sensor.
The MiniMed 670G consists of an insulin pump (with tubing), a continuous glucose monitoring sensor inserted under the skin, and a transmitter worn on the body. When the 670G is operating in auto mode, it receives a glucose value from the sensor.
Ascensia Diabetes Care added two new meters to its Contour family of glucometers. The Contour Next Link and Contour Next One were introduced last year. While the Contour Next Link was designed specifically to connect to a Medtronic insulin pump, the Contour Next One is aimed at a broader group of users. It connects via Bluetooth to the Contour Diabetes app, available on iOS and Android. On the app, users can log their diet and exercise and track trends in their blood glucose. They can send data to a care provider as a PDF and gain insights about their diabetes based on the data they receive.
“Today, fewer than two percent of people living with diabetes use a connected meter,” said Robert Schumm, head of Ascensia Diabetes Care US. “Contour Next One is designed to be simple to use and can meet the needs of a broad group of users.”
Besides sending data to an app, a “smartLight” feature allows feedback, reminders, and alerts to be displayed on the meter itself. In clinical trials, the meter returned 95% of results accurate within 8.4 mg/dl of laboratory reference values. Ascensia is currently planning to launch the meters in early 2017, although the apps are already available from the iTunes and Google Play stores.
The Dario Smart Meter lets you test blood glucose levels in seconds directly on your smartphone. The pocket-sized glucose monitoring system developed by LabStyle comes with a meter, test strips, and a real-time mobile app to help manage diabetes quickly and easily. Available since March 2016, Dario Smart Meter allows users to track their blood glucose levels, carbohydrate intake, and exercise activities. It also includes special features such as emergency hypoglycemia alerts via text messaging. All the information is captured in a smartphone and can be easily shared with health-care providers, family members, and caregivers.
Abbott has introduced a continuous glucose monitoring system, FreeStyle Libre Pro. The system was approved last fall, and a consumer version is currently under review with the FDA.
The FreeStyle Libre Pro eliminates the need for routine finger pricks by reading glucose levels through a small sensor. A health-care professional applies the sensor to the back of the patient’s upper arm. A self-adhesive pad holds the water-resistant and disposable sensor in place for up to 14 days, requiring no patient interaction with the device and eliminating the need to draw blood with a finger stick to calibrate the sensor.
The sensor continuously measures glucose in interstitial fluid through a small (5 mm long, 0.4 mm wide) filament that is inserted just under the skin. It records glucose levels every 15 minutes, capturing up to 1,340 glucose results for up to 14 days and providing the treating doctor with comprehensive data for a complete glucose profile. After 14 days, the patient returns to the doctor’s office, where the doctor uses a FreeStyle Libre Pro reader to scan the sensor and download the 14 days’ worth of glucose results stored in the sensor — in as little as five seconds.
While the Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring System itself is not new, a recent FDA-approved expansion for the product is making headlines. In December 2016, the FDA OK’d use of the system to replace fingerstick blood sugar testing in people age 2 and over. Until now, the system had only been approved for complementing fingerstick testing. Now, a user need perform just two fingersticks a day to calibrate the system.