FreeStyle Libre System Reduces Diabetes-Related Hospitalizations for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

The study also showed sustained reductions in hospitalizations over a 2-year period of FreeStyle Libre system use.

New data from the Real-World Evidence of FreeStyle Libre (RELIEF) study have found that the FreeStyle Libre system can help significantly reduce acute diabetes-related events, such as severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.

FreeStyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM) and is the most widely used CGM system worldwide, according to an Abbott press release. It is used by more than 4 million patients living across more than 60 countries.

Once-daily insulin therapy is often used when oral medications are no longer sufficient to regulate glucose levels. However, research has shown that patients with type 2 diabetes who start with basal insulin therapy are 3 times more likely to experience severe hypoglycemia.

The retrospective RELIEF study found that 5933 patients with type 2 diabetes who were following a basal insulin-only regimen and using the FreeStyle Libre System had 67% fewer acute diabetes event-related hospitalizations 1 year after initiating treatment with the system. The data also show a 75% reduction in hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis as well as a 44% reduction in admissions for severe hypoglycemia.

Finally, the study also showed sustained reductions in hospitalizations over a 2-year period of FreeStyle Libre system use, regardless of whether the patients were under the care of a diabetes specialist or a general health care practitioner.

“The results of the RELIEF study highlight the value of [the] FreeStyle Libre system in reducing serious diabetes-related events and hospitalizations among patients with type 2 diabetes on basal-only therapy,” said researcher Jean-Pierre Riveline, MD, in the press release. “The reductions are similar to the results seen among the larger cohort of people with type 2 diabetes who were receiving multiple daily injections, suggesting that FreeStyle Libre technology therapy should be proposed as part of individualized care for patients with type 2 diabetes on basal-only insulin, not just people on intensive insulin therapy.”

Fear of hypoglycemia affects many individuals with type 2 diabetes as well as physicians. This fear can sometimes be a barrier to intensifying treatment and impacts patients’ willingness to follow basal insulin therapy as prescribed by their physician.

Findings from the RELIEF study suggest that reducing the incidence of hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis could improve adherence and help patients with diabetes achieve their glycemic targets. This could be especially impactful for older adults, in whom hypoglycemia is associated with a significantly increased risk of falls, fractures, dementia, and death, according to the study.

“Moving from oral medications to insulin therapy can have a big impact on people with type 2 diabetes, both mentally and physically,” said Alexander Seibold, MD, PhD, senior medical director in Abbott’s diabetes care division, in the press release. “Although the risk is often necessary to manage glucose levels, it can be stressful to inject insulin, which comes with associated risks.”

The results add to a growing body of evidence showing the FreeStyle Libre system’s efficacy in reducing hospitalizations for patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes on multiple daily injections of insulin. The system includes a sensor that is applied to the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days, paired with a reader or a smartphone app.


New data show that Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system reduces diabetes-related hospitalizations for people with type 2 diabetes on once-daily insulin therapy. News release. Abbott; September 20, 2022. Accessed September 22, 2022.