Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor

The most advanced continuous glucose monitor is the Dexcom G6 from San Diego, California.

The new form factor of the Dexcom G6 makes it the first-of-its-kind offering that offers direct-to-mobile app connectivity without a need to carry a separate receiver.

Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined this device is accurate enough to not require regular fingerstick glucose tests to calibrate the system.

Even if you’re not personally familiar with this impactful and popular diabetes device, you may have seen TV commercials for it or heard about Dexcom’s Super Bowl ad in February 2021. It featured celebrity singer-actor Nick Jonas, who lives with type 1 diabetes and uses Dexcom’s product.

If you are interested in the Dexcom G6, you can find everything you need at this place.

Benefits of G6

  • The sensors can be worn for 10 days.
  • A one-handed plastic device that allows for one-handed inserts is an easy, pain-free way to insert.
  • “You can’t see the needle as it moves into the disposal inserter.”
  • can be discreetly worn.
  • Continuously tracks the levels of the blood sugar in real-time and displays the results on a device.
  • Can you tell me if my blood sugar is high or low?
  • You can share real-time data with up to 10 people.
  • There is a silent vibrate-only mode for alarms.
  • It can be submerged in pools up to certain depths, so you can wear it during bathing, swimming, or showering.
  • The effects of tylenol on the readings of the sugars.

Cons of G6

  • The sensor may fail before the 10th day.
  • “If your sensor fails before the 10-day mark, you can’t restart.”
  • You can not turn off the 55mg/dL alert.
  • The system requires a transmitter and a prescription to work, so it can be expensive without insurance.
  • The data may be less reliable if the signal from your phone or pump is not reliable.
  • not compatible with all smartphones (make sure to check Dexcom’s smartphone list)
  • The plastic auto-inserter is cumbersome and takes up a lot of space.

First cleared by the FDA in March 2018, the G6 was the first CGM to offer direct-to-smartphone app connectivity without requiring a separate receiver, although users can still opt to use one or the other.

It was also the first CGM to do away with the requirement to take fingerstick tests to calibrate for accuracy.

The system entails a breakdown.

Dexcom CGM sensor on stomach

Transmitter

The sensor is on top of the body and clicks on the thin gray part. The brain of the system is what it functions as. The G6 transmitter is a third smaller, thinner, and lower profile than the previous model. It has a battery life of three months.

The G6 can send results to a compatible device within 20 feet with built-in Bluetooth.

No fingersticks required

The G6 does not require once or twice daily calibrations as previous versions did. That means it has a nonadjunctive designation from the FDA, so it can be used in making insulin dosing and treatment decisions without a backup fingerstick test.

Even though the G6 is factory-calibrated, Dexcom has built in the ability for users to still manually enter calibrations, for extra confidence in accuracy.

Disposable auto inserter

The inserter design of the G6 is new. It is a plastic, spring- loaded, self-contained auto-applicator that requires you to do nothing but press an orange button to inject a new sensor. It is good for one-handed inserts.

The auto-inserter has boxes of three that are pre-assembled so no needles are exposed. Pull the backing, place the unit on your skin, and push the button.

Once the sensor is on your body, the disposal piece will separate.

Sensor code

The four-number code is printed on the backing of the sensor before you attach it to your body.

You need to enter that code into the mobile app or separate receiver device before you insert it.

The sensor will need daily calibrations if this code is not entered or scanned, as it was with the previous G5 model.

10-day wear

The water-resistant G6 sensor is said to be more accurate and reliable and can be worn for 10 days compared with the earlier model’s 7 days.

“The hard shutoff at the 10-day mark means you won’t be able to extend the sensor for long, as many people did with previous versions.”

The FDA actually laid this out in a letter to Dexcom describing requirements for the G6. There are some DIY methods to restart a sensor, but those are considered “off-label” and not endorsed by the FDA.

Young kids

The G6 is approved for children 2 years and up.

Goodbye, Tylenol effect

There has been an ongoing issue with interference from medications containing acetaminophen.

The G6 has a special device that eliminates interference from the drugs and eliminates the chance of false highglucose results.

Predictive alerts

You will get an alert whenever the sensor tells you that your blood sugar will plummet and you will be out of breath within 20 minutes.

The FDA requires this alert to be turned on and not off, unlike the other G6 alert and alarms that can be silenced.

Customizable alerts

You can set different alert preferences. The vibrate feature is not enabled, but the do not disturb feature is for audible or vibration warnings.

Dexcom CGM receiver with glucose reading

Dexcom G6 mobile app

The G6 mobile app starts showing results after a couple of hours. It displays a circle with the current real-timeglucose level and appropriate Gray/Red/Yellow color code depending on whether you are in range, low, or high.

A little arrow points in the direction you are moving in. The graph with dots for the values of sugars is displayed below that.

Want to view more than the past 3 hours of CGM data? Turn your smartphone horizontally to see up to 24 hours of data and scroll back accordingly. Data can be shared via the separate Dexcom Follow app with as many as 10 people, and with a doctor’s office through the Dexcom CLARITY platform.

Both iOS and Android

The G6 app works with some phones, but not others.

Here’s a list of compatible devices, although it’s not entirely clear which devices or wearables are seamlessly compatible from the get-go. Also, Dexcom says the G6 won’t yet send data directly to an Apple or Android watch without the phone.

See this nifty G6 simulator app available on both iTunes and Google Play to take the Dexcom G6 app for a trial run.

The standard measurement of CGM performance is known as the mean absolute relative difference (MARD). With this measure, the lower the number, the better the accuracy.

Clinical data for the Dexcom G6 shows it has a MARD of 9 percent with sustained accuracy over the time a sensor is worn. That puts it ahead of all its direct competitors.

Individual users may have different experiences. Many people who have used both the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 and the Dexcom G6 report comparable accuracy.

To view glucose data trends and send reports to your healthcare professionals, you’ll want to use Dexcom CLARITY, the company’s web-based software. It’s available both online and through the Dexcom G6 smartphone app to customers at no cost.

You can see a green icon with four vertical lines in the upper right corner if you turn the orientation of your phone to horizontal. Clicking on that icon will take you to the CLARITY app.

CLARITY shows your averageglucose for any number of days, reports for the past 24 hours to 3 months, and comparison charts to help you see how you managed.

If you started using a new pump a month ago, you can easily see how your data has changed over time.

CLARITY has two other popular features.

  • Time in Range view: It shows the percentage of time your glucose levels are in low, target, and high ranges. The default “in-target” range is 70 to 180 mg/dL, which may not be what you set for your CGM, so you can change the Dexcom CLARITY ranges in Settings to your preferred targets.
  • Glucose Management Indicator (GMI): This approximates the laboratory A1C result you might expect based on your average glucose from the most recent 12 days of CGM data. It’s not a precise prediction, but many use this feature to help them get a better idea of where they stand on that 3-month average result.

You can also grant access to your CLARITY data to your doctor. Simply authorize this via the app or on the CLARITY website, which allows your doctor to log in at no cost and view your data.

The CLARITY overview report is billable to insurance, so your doctor can get reimbursed for interpreting and reviewing your data through Medicare or private insurers. The billing code is 95251.

Private insurers in the US cover the Dexcom CGMs. Medicare covers the G6 as well.

You will need to check with your plan to find out if benefits are the same. You will need a prescription for the G6 transmitter and a box of sensors before you can buy them, so you will have to work with a healthcare professional.

Until spring 2021, Dexcom sold its systems and supplies directly via its website. But the company now works with distributors like Edgepark for online ordering.

Dexcom G6 pricing details

You can purchase Dexcom G6 supplies in large retail pharmacies across the United States, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.

Cash prices vary. Most locations we queried quote the price for a Dexcom G6 transmitter at just under $300, while a three-pack box of G6 sensors runs roughly $400.

Retail costs without insurance are rough.

  • Each of the four transmitters costs $1,200 and lasts 90 days.
  • A box of three Dexcom G6 sensors costs $4,200.
  • The total is estimated to be $6,000 per year or $500 a month.

The discounted prices for store members who also sign up for the free pharmacy program at Costco are also available for the G6 supplies. See more details here.

The Dexcom G6 is a great tool for anyone with diabetes, including pregnant women and children with diabetes, as it helps with tight diabetes management.

The benefits of CGM use are well documented. Using a CGM can:

  • Hypoglycemic events are very dangerous and help avoid them.
  • Help guide the use of the drug.
  • “Hypoglycemia unawareness is a condition that can make people feel unsafe, so providing a sense of safety and security for people who don’t feel unsafe is important.”
  • increase glucose “time in range” for better diabetes management
  • Let users see how their food and physical activity affects their body.

In fact, CGM is so powerful for improving overall health outcomes that it’s quickly becoming a consumer wellness product.

There’s little doubt that all people with diabetes can benefit, but recent studies show that CGMs may be especially beneficial for certain groups, including teens, young adults, and older adults. This is likely due to the convenience these devices provide.

The FDA created a new category of device called iCGM, or integrated CGM, when it approved the G6 in the year of 2019.

The latest devices that work with the G6 include the tubed Tandem t:slim X2 and the Omnipod tubeless pump.

Not sure whether your device is compatible with Dexcom G6? You can check that out here.

What’s exciting is that the future Dexcom G7 model will have even more advanced features and integration with automated diabetes management systems.

Based on customer reviews from consumer sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot, people are generally satisfied with the Dexcom G6. They find that it helps them improve and manage their glucose levels. The most common complaints are those relating to customer service, insurance claims, and deliveries.

The Dexcom G6 is very reliable and accurate. The transmitters do not always last the full 90 days, and the sensors fail early before the full 10 days.

As a result, a common complaint is having to spend a lot of time contacting Dexcom’s technical support, either by phone, text, or online, to get a replacement sensor sent within 3 to 5 days.

Users often share their tips for the G6.

  • Make sure you drink enough water to get better data and reliability.
  • Prepare for the procedure by using a medical wipe and a spray of allergy spray. This helps keep the sensor on longer.
  • You can enter fingersticks to calibrate the G6, but it is not required. The CGM can get confused if it enters multiple results in a short period of time. If it loses a signal or tries to re-enter your data, you should wait at least 30 minutes.

We tried the Dexcom G6

I have found the Dexcom G6 to be helpful and accurate when it keeps working as it should. I only get half the use time I am due because my G6 sensors fail after 5 to 6 days.

“The alert that lets me know when I will reach the threshold of 55 s/dL is a real life-changing alert. Knowing ahead of time means I can act before it’s too late.”

Also, the redesigned auto-inserters make it so much easier to insert a new sensor by myself, single-handed. The older G4 and G5 inserters were described by some as a “harpoon,” whereas it’s rare to see users complaining about pain with the G6 inserter.

But for me, the larger bulkier size of this new applicator is a bummer because I can’t just toss it into my homemade sharps containers like I could with the older, thin sensor devices.

There are several other CGM systems on the market that are similar to the Dexcom G6. Here are some to consider:

Product Details Length of wear Approved for ages
Dexcom G6 • can insert easily with one hand
• allows you to monitor glucose levels in real time on your smartphone
• relies on Bluetooth signal
10 days 2 years and older
Medtronic Minimed Guardian Connect • sends updates, notifications, and predictions to your smartphone
• can help stabilize glucose levels
• many users say the sensor is less comfortable on the body
7 days 17–75
FreeStyle Libre • little circular sensor worn on your upper arm
• have to manually scan the sensor each time you want a reading
• optional alerts for low and high glucose levels
14 days 4 years and older
Ascensia Eversense • tiny sensor that’s implanted under the skin in your upper arm
• transmitter streams glucose data continuously to your smartphone
• requires a doctor’s visit to insert and remove each sensor
• may cause small scarring
90 days 18 and older

Checking blood sugars is a key part of managing diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes (T1D), a person’s pancreas does not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes (T2D), the body may not make insulin correctly anymore.

Making sure the levels of the blood sugar stay as level as possible is the goal for either T1D or T2D. Sometimes diabetes medications are used based on personal needs. Many factors affect the levels of blood sugar.

Everyone has their own needs and the target level for the blood sugar may be different.

But the 2022 standards from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advise that the typical blood sugar range for (nonpregnant) adults with diabetes are:

  • Before meals, between 80 and 130 grams per deciles.
  • It is lower than 180 s/dL within a few hours after eating.

Ranges vary for children younger than 18 years old, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions or gestational diabetes.

You can always talk with your doctor and diabetes care team about your personal goals for glucose levels.

But meeting with your diabetes care team and endocrinologist may be especially helpful if you’re experiencing any trends in higher or lower glucose levels, particularly if you experience any hyperglycemia symptoms that might signal dangerous diabetic ketoacidosis.

If you’re interested in trying out the Dexcon G6 CGM before buying one yourself through insurance, you may also want to talk with your diabetes care team about the possibility of using a “blinded” professional version through their office.

It would allow your care team to view your data, but not the data alone.

How long does the Dexcom G6 device last?

You can wear the G6 for up to 10 days before you need to replace the sensor. You may lose the signal at times.

The sensor can fail before the 10-day wear time is over.

The transmitter on the G6 lasts for 90 days and is used to click into each sensor.

Do doctors recommend the Dexcom G6?

Yes. Doctors recommend that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes use the Dexcom G6 because it provides a more complete picture of their blood sugar trends than traditional blood sugar meters.

Do you need an internet connection to use the Dexcom Follow app?

You need an internet connection to use the Share app and the Follow app correctly.

What does the Dexcom G6 cost?

You can purchase the supplies at large retail stores in the US. Cash prices can be different. The price for a three-pack box of G6 sensors is $400, while the price for a Dexcom G6 transmitter is $300.

Retail costs without insurance are rough.

  • Each of the four transmitters costs $1,200 and lasts 90 days.
  • A box of three Dexcom G6 sensors costs $4,200.
  • The total is estimated to be $6,000 per year or $500 a month.

The discounted prices for store members who also sign up for the free pharmacy program at Costco are also available for the G6 supplies.

The most popular and popular CGM on the market is the Dexcom G6 from a company that has been developing the technology for nearly 20 years.

It has real-time data, a range of alarms, and a dashboard that shows you how much you need to eat.

The Dexcom G6 is an excellent choice for anyone with diabetes because of its easy-to-use form factor, high accuracy ratings, and compatibility with other diabetes devices.

“It can be costly and frustrating when the product doesn’t deliver as promised.”