Dexcom G6 (G7 in clinical trials currently) and the Freestyle Libre 2 are both continuous glucose monitoring devices that are used by patients diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes (for personal health and fitness reasons). Both devices do not require any calibration and contain water-resistant sensors and transmitters (allowing you to swim and shower while you are wearing it). The Dexcom G6 and Freestyle Libre 2 continuous glucose monitors also allow you and your provider to view your sugar levels on a graph.
The differences between the Dexcom G6 and Freestyle Libre 2 are:
- The method that glucose levels are sent to the receiver
- Alert system how they provide high/low alerts
- Frequency of replacement
Dexcom G6 is approved by the FDA for use in patients who are 2 years and older. Freestyle Libre 2 is approved by the FDA for users who are 4 years and older. Freestyle Libre also has a 14 day system, but this is only approved for those 18 years and older.
The Dexcom G6 takes on average 2 hours to start monitoring glucose levels and the sensor will last for 10 days. The Freestyle Libre 2 takes 1 hour to start monitoring glucose levels and the sensor will last 14 days. Freestyle Libre 14 day can take up to 12 hours to start monitoring the glucose levels and the sensor will last for 14 days.
Dexcom G6 is a real time sensor and automatically sends the glucose levels to the device and/or the smartphone app every 5 minutes. The Freestyle Libre 2 reads the glucose levels every 1 minute and this is known as a “flash glucose monitor.” With the Freestyle Libre 2, the results will only be transmitted to the receiver when requested to do so, regardless of the fact that it is monitoring one’s glucose levels every 1 minute.
The Dexcom G6 has an optional out-of-range reading that can be turned on and off as well as a critically low alarm glucose level that cannot be turned off. On the Dexcom G6, these alerts can be transmitted to either through a smartphone application or a separate receiver. Although the Freestyle Libre devices have the option of setting glucose range alters, the user can turn any and all alarms off at any time, including critically low results (I’m not sure why anyone would do this!).
Finally, there is a variation in price between the two devices. The Dexcom G6 retail cost is around $1120.00; the breakdown is as follows:
$400.00 for the receiver
$300.00 for 1 transmitter and
$420.00 for 3 sensors (enough for 30 days)
The transmitter has a 90-day battery life and the sensors need to be changed every 10 days.
The Freestyle Libre 2 sensor is about $130.00 for a 28 day supply.
There is good news though!! Most insurance companies are now covering continuous glucose monitoring devices for those with diabetes.