In an online survey of 605 people with diabetes who use insulin and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), a majority expressed satisfaction with many aspects of the devices' performance. However, significant proportions also reported concerns about accuracy under certain circumstances, and about skin problems.
The Dexcom G6 device was used by 60.7% of all current CGM users, including 69% of those with type 1 diabetes vs 12% with type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes were more likely to use older Dexcom versions (G4/G5) (32%) or Abbott's FreeStyle Libre systems (35%).
Overall, 90% agreed that most sensors were accurate, but just 79% and 78%, respectively, were satisfied with sensor performance on the first and last day of wear.
Moreover, 42% suspected variations in accuracy from sensor to sensor, and 32% continue to perform fingerstick monitoring more than six times a week.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes were more likely than those with type 1 diabetes to be concerned about poor sensor performance affecting confidence in making diabetes management decisions (52% vs 19%).
Over half reported skin reactions and/or pain with the sensors (53.7% and 55.4%, respectively).
Concerns about medications affecting sensor accuracy were more common among those with type 2 vs type 1 diabetes (65% vs 29%).
Among overall concerns about substances or situations affecting sensor accuracy, the top choice (47%) was dehydration (despite a lack of supportive published literature), followed by pain medications (43%), cold/flu medications (32%), and coffee (24%).
Inaccurate/false alarms negatively affected daily life for 36% of participants and diabetes management for 34%.
"CGM is a game-changing technology and has evolved in the past decade to overcome many technical and usability obstacles. Our survey suggests that there remain areas for further improvement… Mistrust in CGM performance was more common than expected."
The study was done by Elizabeth Holt, of LifeScan, and colleagues. It was published August 23, 2023, in Clinical Diabetes.
The databases used to recruit study participants may not be representative of the entire respective patient populations.
Exercise wasn't given as an option for affecting CGM accuracy, which might partly explain the dehydration finding.
Funding for this study and preparation of the manuscript were provided by LifeScan, Inc. Two authors are LifeScan employees, and two others currently work for the T1D Exchange.
Miriam E. Tucker is a freelance journalist based in the Washington, DC, area. She is a regular contributor to Medscape, with other work appearing in the Washington Post, NPR's Shots blog, and Diabetes Forecast magazine. She is on Twitter @MiriamETucker.
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Cite this: Diabetes Patients Satisfied With Continuous Glucose Monitors - Medscape - Sep 12, 2023.