The Year of the Meter

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By: David Mendosa

This may well go down in history as the Year of the Meter.Not since Tom Clemens patented the first blood glucose meter in 1971 have we seen such significant advances.

These advances include both traditionalmeters and continuous sensors. And the year is only half over.

Three New Meters Hit the Shelves

Within the past few months, the three leading manufacturers haveintroduced new meters.

Roche Diagnostics introduced the Accu-Chek Compact Plus in March. Their product is unique in that it includes not only a drum of 17 teststrips but also a detachable Softclix Plus lancet device.

LifeScan’s OneTouch Ultra2, launched in April, solves one ofthe major problems users have had with their meters. This meter makes iteasy for users to keep before-meal and after-meal readings separate sothat they can make sense of their trends. The Ultra2 lets users flagand identify a specific blood glucose result as coming from a“before-meal” or “after-meal” test.

The latest FreeStyle meter by Abbott Diabetes Care, the Freedom, hasa high-contrast display that is big enough for people with visionproblems to read, and the buttons are also large and easy todistinguish. The meter has a new ergonomic design and includes fourprogrammable alarms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved thismeter in March.

Continuous Sensors Change How We Think of Meters

All of these meters are what we’ve known as “bloodglucose” or “finger-stick” meters. But now we needbetter terms to separate them from the new wave of continuous bloodglucose sensors.

Audrey Finkelstein calls them “episodic” meters,probably the clearest term to differentiate them from continuoussensors. Finkelstein is executive vice president of marketing, sales,and clinical affairs for Animas Corp.

Animas is one of the major insulin pump manufacturers and is alsothe company that owns the rights to the GlucoWatch G2 Biographer, whichCygnus developed as the first real-time continuous sensor. Animascontinues to market the GlucoWatch, says Finkelstein.

The second real-time continuous sensor, the Guardian RT System fromMedtronic Diabetes, saw a limited market release last September. The bignews this year is that in April, the FDA approved the MiniMed ParadigmReal-Time System, combining an insulin pump and a continuoussensor—essentially the Guardian RT—for the first time. This is a giantstep toward a closed-loop insulin delivery system.

In March the FDA approved DexCom’s STS continuous sensor. ThenAbbott announced in April that it was now asking the FDA to approve itsNavigator continuous sensor for use with an episodic meter. Originally,the company had asked the FDA to approve it as a replacement for anepisodic meter. Abbott hopes that the Navigator will be available thisyear.

More Developments to Come

There remains a need for episodic meters, Audrey Finkelstein says.“You still have to calibrate and confirm continuous sensors withan accurate episodic meter.”

At the rate things are going meter-wise, don’t be surprised ifthere are even more big developments before the year is out.


See our Meter Reference Guide

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