New NICE guidance on diabetes has recommended the use of real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM) for adults and children living with type 1 diabetes for the first time. This is positive news for thousands of people living with diabetes across the UK, and signals a considerable improvement in methods of self-managing the condition. This new approach could also reduce the need for finger prick testing by up to 50%. This alleviates stress on those living with diabetes, saves them time and discomfort.
The real-time glucose monitoring will give people a continuous stream of real-time information on a smartphone about their current blood glucose level. Alongside new rtCGM technology, the use of intermittently scanned glucose monitoring (isCGM) devices – also known as flash monitoring – has been expanded to the whole of the type 1 patient population.
Up until now, NICE had only recommended real-time CGM for adults with type 1 diabetes with complex needs (e.g. reduced awareness of hypoglycaemia), and fingerpick testing for all other people.
“Clinical trials of real-time CGM have found that it can lead to improved glucose control reducing hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic episodes, and cutting levels of HbA1c which gives an indication of how well glucose in being controlled over time”, said PharmoPhorum.
“What we are seeing today is a key shift in thinking – a move to recognising that technology is an integral part of diabetes management, not simply an added luxury”, said Diabetes UK.
“Many people find finger-prick testing to be painful and time consuming and the introduction of technology for all people living with type 1 diabetes will reduce this considerably. This group of people also live with the constant worry of suffering from an attack brought on by dangerously low blood sugar while they sleep. Having an alarm which will alert them if this happens will give them the peace of mind knowing they will wake up in the morning”, said Paul Chrisp, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE.