Fitterfly's diabetes digital therapeutic cuts blood sugar, weight in real-world trial

People with Type 2 diabetes who used a digital therapeutic (DTx) developed by India’s Fitterfly saw significant improvements in blood sugar and weight in a study that looked at how the system performed in daily life.

There are plenty of apps around that promise to help people with Type 2 diabetes make behavioral changes to manage their illness, but the Fitterfly Diabetes CGM program is one of a smaller selection that also uses continuous glucose monitoring to guide the process.

It relies on Abbott’s Freestyle Libre Pro CGM combined with a mobile app that provides personalized support to users. For example the app can show them the effects of foods on their blood glucose levels so they can make adjustments to their diet.

Also bundled in are coaching sessions to help with nutrition and exercise plans, educational information on living with Type 2 diabetes, and advice on other lifestyle changes that may be helpful, such as improving sleep and reducing stress.

In the real-world study of the DTx, published in the journal JMIR Diabetes, researchers tracked hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels—a biomarker for glucose control—in 109 patients over a 90-day period. They found that around 85% of them saw an average reduction in HbA1c of 1.2%.

That may not sound like much, but studies have shown that every 1% reduction in the biomarker can translate to around a 20% reduction in complications of diabetes like kidney and nerve damage. The target level for most people with Type 2 diabetes is to drive levels below 6.5% to 7%.

According to the authors of the study, the DTx performed even better in study subjects who had higher levels of HbA1c at enrollment—9% or above—with a 2.6% reduction that brought their value down towards the target range.

Added to that, they also saw an average 2-kilogram reduction in body weight from an average starting weight of just under 75 kilograms. In 39% of them, the reduction was 4% or more, which the researchers said was a tangible benefit that encouraged people to stick with the program. The weight loss came hand-in-hand with an improvement in body mass index.

According to Fitterfly’s co-founder and CEO Dr. Arbinder Singal, the results are important, given that Type 2 diabetes is becoming a huge healthcare concern in India. World Health Organization figures suggest there are around 77 million people with the disease in the country, plus another 25 million who are in the prediabetes stage and at risk of developing it.

“With the use of newer tools such as digital therapeutics now getting adopted by people and enterprise partners, and getting prescribed by physicians, we are bridging the gap for behavior change,” Singal said in a press release. 

“The study affirms our belief that digital therapeutic programs can provide clinically validated outcomes and help the population at scale.”

Fitterfly says its three-month diabetes program—which is currently available at a cost upward of around $100 per month in India, depending on the subscription level—has helped around 20,000 people to date.

Other companies that bundle CGM devices with digital support apps include Dexcom/Welldoc, Abbott/Weightwatchers and Carbon Health.