Abbott advises FreeStyle Libre users of potential battery overheating, swelling

Abbott advises FreeStyle Libre users of potential battery overheating, swelling

Abbott is taking steps to remind users of its FreeStyle Libre diabetes monitors to take good care of their batteries, after very rare reports of them swelling, overheating or catching fire.

No devices are being recalled, and the issue does not affect any FreeStyle Libre glucose sensors. The company said that the handheld digital readers—including for the FreeStyle Libre, FreeStyle Libre 14 day, and FreeStyle Libre 2 Flash systems—need only to be properly stored when not in use, and charged only with the Abbott-provided power adaptor and bright yellow USB cable.

The readers’ lithium-ion batteries are similar to those used in mobile phones, which can carry the same risks of swelling and overheating over time. The company also recommended keeping the device’s plugs clean, avoiding liquids, and not subjecting them to extreme temperatures.

According to Abbott, it has received a “limited number of reports worldwide” of battery issues, spanning a period of several years—which the company described as amounting to 0.0017%—with sparking or fires occurring in very rare cases.

Abbott said it has been reaching out to users on this issue since February, and has notified the FDA. Since the readers launched in the U.S. in 2017, the company said there have been no reported incidents of serious injuries or deaths linked to this issue.

The reader collects glucose data from the sensor worn on the back of a person’s upper arm. Users can rely on a smartphone app instead, but switching would require starting with a new sensor. The company launched a dedicated website——with more information and steps on how to test a reader’s battery to see if it needs to be replaced.

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