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    New device could be breakthrough for diabetics

    FDA recently expanded approval of the G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (Dexcom) to allow for replacement of fingerstick blood glucose (sugar) testing for diabetics.

    “This is the first FDA-approved continuous glucose monitoring system that can be used to make diabetes treatment decisions without confirmation with a traditional fingerstick test,” FDA said in a statement. The system was previously approved to complement, not replace, fingerstick testing for diabetes treatment decisions.

    Related: New diabetes combo drug available soon

    "The FDA works hard to help ensure that novel technologies, which can reduce the burden of daily disease management, are safe and accurate," said Alberto Gutierrez, PhD, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Although this system still requires calibration with two daily fingersticks, it eliminates the need for any additional fingerstick blood glucose testing in order to make treatment decisions. This may allow some patients to manage their disease more comfortably and may encourage them to have routine dialogue with their health care providers about the use of real-time continuous glucose monitoring in diabetes management."

    Instead of fingersticks, the G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring System uses a small sensor wire inserted just below the skin that continuously measures and monitors glucose levels. Real-time results are sent wirelessly every five minutes to a dedicated receiver and a compatible mobile device running a mobile app. Then, alarms and alerts indicate glucose levels above or below user-set thresholds.

    The system measures glucose in fluid under the skin and must be calibrated at least 2 times per day using blood obtained from fingerstick tests. “However, additional daily fingerstick blood tests are generally no longer necessary because, unlike other continuous glucose monitoring systems, results from this device can now be used directly by patients to make diabetes treatment decisions without confirmation from a traditional fingerstick test,” FDA said.

    Related: FDA approves 2 injectable diabetes drugs

    FDA evaluated data from 2 clinical studies of the G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. The studies included 130 adults and children aged 2 years and older with diabetes. All studies included a 7-day period where system readings were compared to blood glucose meter values, as well as to a laboratory test method that measures glucose values.

    No serious adverse events were reported during the studies. However, risks associated with use of the system may include hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia in cases where information provided by the device is inaccurate and used to make treatment decisions or where hardware or set-up issues disable alarms and alerts, as well as skin irritation or redness around the device’s adhesive patch.

    In addition, users are warned that the system must be calibrated using a fingerstick blood sample at least once every 12 hours and that taking any medications containing acetaminophen while wearing the system may falsely raise glucose readings.

    Read more: FDA issues warnings over anesthesia, diabetes drugs

    Christine Blank, Contributing Editor
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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