New guidance from NICE has recommended the use of real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM) for adults and children living with type 1 diabetes for the first time. It will give them a continuous stream of real-time information on a smartphone about their current blood glucose level.
Following their latest guidance, every person living with diabetes is now eligible for a continuous glucose monitors (CGM) – a wearable sensor allowing people to check their glucose levels with a one-second scan.
A Guildford-based healthcare business, committed to supporting people with diabetes, has teamed up with the NHS to provide these “life-changing” continuous glucose monitors to everyone living with type 1 diabetes in the UK.
The GlucoRx AiDEX CGM has been available on the Drug tariff since April 1, 2022. The product combines accuracy and cost-efficiency. Chris Chapman, a chief operating officer of GlucoRx, said: “We are delighted that our life-changing CGM devices are the first CGMs to be available on prescription for every NHS patient with type 1 diabetes. “It is an honour to work with the NHS on such a big project which will improve the quality of life for thousands of people with the condition.”
GlucoRx AiDEX CGM achieved drug tariff status earlier this month, meaning it is now approved for use by the NHS. “Achieving drug tariff status now allows us to make a bigger difference within the world of diabetes,” said Chris. He added: “We pride ourselves on prioritising patient care and enhancing the health outcomes for people living with type 1 diabetes. "To date, more than 1,000 GlucoRx CGM’s have been sold, with users branding the GlucoRx AiDEX CGM as “super easy to use” and “extremely accurate”.
Research presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2022 revealed that flash monitoring not only helps to improve blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes, but also has a positive effect on their quality of life. Currently, NHS England spends roughly £10 billion a year on diabetes – around 10 per cent of its entire budget. According to the NHS, tools like continuous glucose monitoring, which help people better manage their condition and reduce associated illness and hospitalisations, will reduces costs in the long run.
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. Patients will now have a choice in picking the technology which is right for them in discussion with their diabetes team. A rtCGM sensor is attached discreetly to the person’s body and collects the data which is transmitted to their smartphone. The data provides current and previous glucose levels but also a prediction of where the levels are headed meaning they can take action to stabilise their levels if necessary.
The real-time systems also feature active alerts or alarms that warn users of immediate and/or impending high or low blood sugar. Research has found both real-time and flash devices help a person in maintaining optimal blood sugar control.
Until now NICE had only recommended technology for continuous glucose monitoring for adults with type 1 diabetes in certain circumstances and capillary blood glucose monitoring (finger-prick testing) for people who weren’t eligible for the technology. With the introduction of new technology for everyone with type 1 diabetes, people will no longer have to monitor their condition with finger-prick testing as regularly as before. Instead the technology, calibrated using the person’s blood, will do that work for them. Experts predict this will reduce by half the need for finger-prick testing.
NHS England has rolled out NICE recommended flash devices to around 50% of those with type 1 diabetes. The flash devices require users to consciously scan a sensor on their arm to obtain blood sugar data and not all flash monitors provide optional alarms or alerts.
In other new recommendations: NICE has recommended extending the use of flash monitoring to adults with type 2 diabetes on insulin therapy. This recommendation makes the technology available to around 193,000 people.