Painless diabetes sensor approved for kids

Sarah Wiedersehn
(Australian Associated Press)

Young Australians living with type 1 diabetes now have access to a “revolutionary” laser glucose monitoring system that does away with time-consuming and painful finger pricks.

The FreeStyle Libre system – made by pharmaceutical company Abbott – has been approved for sale for diabetics aged 4 to 17 by the Therapeutic Goods Asministration (TGA).

The system reads glucose levels through a sensor worn on the back of the upper arm.

Endocrinologst Professor Maria Craig at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead says the technology will relieve the pain of multiple daily finger pricks and the anxiety of managing the disease.

“It is wonderful that our patients and all children living with diabetes in Australia have more options available to them for monitoring blood glucose levels,” she said.

Victorian teen Jack Double says he’s more than pleased to do away with the finger pricking after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age one.

The easy-to-use system also means it fits well into the 14-year-old’s active lifestyle.

“Instead of spending a long time pressing my finger I can easily just scan on my arm and get a reading straight away. It’s a lot easier now because even during a game if I had to I could scan very easily,” he said.

His mum Sal Double says monitoring Jack’s glucose levels overnight is now particularly easy.

“Because Jack plays so much sport there is a lot a variability that’s really hard to predict,” she said.

“We just find overnight instead of me trying to dig out a hand while he’s a sleep I can just scan and get some indication of where his glucose levels are at.

“The extra information it provides is just invaluable.”

Abbott’s reginal director of Diabetes Care says FreeStyle Libre’s technology offers a comprehensive way to manage diabetes discreetly, painlessly and conveniently.

Diabetes Australia has welcomed Tuesday’s announcement.

“We support new technology that makes it easier for people to better self-manage their condition, to reduce diabetes-related complications and ultimately improve health outcomes,” said Professor Johnson.

At $92 dollars per sensor, which lasts two weeks, there are calls for more government subsidies to make the technology more affordable.


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