Abbott real-world studies show CGM use can help boost GLP-1 success in Type 2 diabetes

An analysis of real-world data by Abbott showed that the rise of GLP-1 medicines doesn’t necessarily have to take a major bite out of medtech sales, as combining the injections for diabetes and weight loss with continuous glucose monitors can help further improve blood sugar control.

In two studies of people with Type 2 diabetes taking GLP-1s, the addition of Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre CGM systems led to significant gains in HbA1C—regardless of the type of drug, how long patients took it, or whether they were also taking insulin, the company said.

Abbott claims that the real-time data provided by the CGM helps encourage users to stick to their diabetes treatment plans, while illustrating the effects of food intake, physical activity and medication regimens.

The latest study results—presented this week at the International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes in Florence, Italy—build upon the company’s previous work showing that FreeStyle Libre use could also benefit adherence to GLP-1s, the class of blockbuster drugs that includes Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, as well as Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, among others.

“This type of complementary relationship is not uncommon in diabetes care treatment,” Mahmood Kazemi, M.D., chief medical officer for Abbott's diabetes business, said in a statement. “Similar to pairing with insulin therapy, FreeStyle Libre technology is a beneficial companion to GLP-1 therapy, providing the real-time data that people with diabetes can use to make positive behavior changes and navigate their GLP-1 usage safely.”

The first of the two studies found that, among people with Type 2 diabetes who had an HbA1C of 8% or more while taking GLP-1 medicines, the addition of Abbott’s wearable CGM saw that number improve by 1.5 percentage points after six months. 

The second study, comparing two cohorts of patients, showed greater reductions in the group that paired GLP-1s with CGMs versus GLP-1 therapy alone, with drops of 2.4 percentage points compared to 1.7, respectively.

Both analyses relied on de-identified patient data from Optum’s database of claims and electronic health records, and included more than 24,500 people who began their first treatments with GLP-1s and FreeStyle Libre devices between 2018 and 2022.

Earlier this week, Novo Nordisk reported the topline results of a phase 3 Ozempic trial in patients with Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, showing the injection reduced the risks of renal disease progression as well as kidney and cardiovascular death by 24%. The company said it plans to file for regulatory approvals this year in the U.S. and Europe to expand the drug’s label.