medwireNews: People with type 1 diabetes remain broadly satisfied with flash glucose monitoring in the long term and its use may reduce acute diabetes complications and work absences, real-world data suggest.
Pieter Gillard (University Hospitals Leuven–KU Leuven, Belgium) and co-researchers found significant reductions in hospitalizations due to hypoglycemia or ketoacidosis, in hypoglycemic coma, and in hypoglycemia requiring third-party assistance during the first year of flash glucose monitoring use.
Rates of these outcomes among 1913 people with type 1 diabetes in the year prior to baseline were 3.3%, 2.7%, and 14.6%, respectively. In the 1711 who completed 12 months of flash monitoring use the rates fells to a corresponding 2.2%, 1.1%, and 7.8%.
The researchers found that rates of work absenteeism also fell significantly, from 5.8% to 2.9%. They suspect this reduction to be a result of the decrease in hypoglycemic complications, and say that it represents “an important advantage on both an individual and societal level.”
The findings suggest that, when using flash glucose monitoring, “people might be able to intervene earlier on upcoming lows and thus prevent life-threatening situations,” the team writes in Diabetes Care.
The study’s primary endpoint was change in general and diabetes-specific quality of life over 12 months. These measures did not in fact change, which the researchers attribute to “the high perceived health status at baseline.”
However, they also highlight that 11% of participants dropped out of the study; 74% of these did so because they stopped using flash monitoring, due largely to skin reactions (19%), low confidence in the sensor accuracy (17%), or frequent sensor loss (17%).
Issues with sensor accuracy and loss were reported by around a third of the whole cohort, and 11% of all participants developed a skin reaction to the device, which Gillard and team say highlights the need for hypoallergenic adhesives.
However, those who persisted with flash monitoring for 12 months were very satisfied with the system; they rated it at an average 8.4 out of 10, and 95% considered it more convenient than finger-stick testing.
Glycated hemoglobin did not change during follow-up, which the researchers say might relate to “a more defensive attitude toward hypoglycemic events,” because of flash monitoring giving people greater awareness of subclinical hypoglycemia. Indeed the average time in hypoglycemia decreased by around 16 minutes per day, they say.
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