Over the past couple of years, there have been so many medical devices released into the market. These have been a cause for confusion for people who don’t know how a majority of them work leave alone what their uses are. Good examples are the continuous glucose monitors. Apart from not knowing exactly what these devices may be used for and how they function, lots of people don’t know whether or not they can get the continuous glucose monitors over the counter or if they need a prescription for it.
In this piece, we’ll look at all the conditions that need to be met before obtaining a continuous glucose monitor.
Do continuous glucose monitors require a prescription?
These devices are used by diabetic patients and their function is to give continuous glucose readouts. The device senses glucose levels and takes readings from the interstitial fluid using a thin filament. The readings are then transmitted to a receiving device using connection wired.
The readings are very useful to the patient and his doctor as they help them both understand how he’s responding to food, exercise, and insulin dosage. As a result, the doctor can make appropriate adjustments such as changing insulin doses. This shows how important these devices are for patients with diabetes.
So, are continuous glucose monitors available for patients to buy for themselves? Yes. But the patients would need to have a doctor’s prescription.
To whom are continuous glucose monitors prescribed?
These devices may be used for adults as well as children who are older than 2. For the doctor to make a prescription for a CGM, he has to put three things into consideration:
- Is the patient on intensive or high insulin therapy? This is, at times, referred to as tight blood sugar control
- Does the patient have hypoglycemia or unawareness?
- Does the patient often have high or low blood glucose?
These there are general considerations that the doctors have to put into considerations. Here are the detailed considerations that doctors take into account for adults and kids respectively:
Detailed considerations for adults
Continuous glucose monitors aren’t supposed to be prescribed to all adults who have type 2 diabetes. They’re ideal for those who have frequent episodes of any of the following:
- More than one severe episode of hypoglycemia with no apparent cause in a year.
- Complete hypoglycemia unawareness. This refers to adults who are unaware of symptoms of low blood sugar
- More than 2 severe hypos in a week with no real reason and affect the patient’s day to day lifestyle
- Extreme fear of hypos and other related thoughts
- Has blood sugar that exceeds 215 mg/dL several times daily
Detailed considerations for adults
- Children with hypo awareness
- Children who get severe and frequent hypos despite proper management
- Children in whom it is difficult to diagnose or recognize hypo symptoms
- Children who are involved in a high level of sporting
- Children who have other conditions in addition to diabetes. These make the management of diabetes to get complex
Before giving the prescription, the doctor ensures that the patients understand how the monitors work. The patients are then requested to use it for a brief period to understand how their blood sugar reacts to various factors.
After the doctors have prescribed the continuous glucose monitors, patients can now get them at a pharmacy. It’s worth noting that continuous glucose monitors are quite expensive and can cost several hundred dollars on top of which there’s the additional cost of sensors.