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The Dexcom G6 is the latest continuous glucose monitor (CGM) from diabetes care tech company Dexcom Inc.

The Dexcom G6 includes a sensor, transmitter, and display device. The transmitter is connected to the sensor and sends glucose data to a receiver, insulin pump, or smartphone.

This device can help you manage your glucose levels and prevent diabetes-related health concerns.

Approved for use by people ages 2 and up, the Dexcom G6 may be ideal for people with diabetes who often have high or low blood sugar levels.

The device can offer insights into how certain foods, activities, and sleep patterns affect your blood sugar levels. Your data, customizable alerts, and notifications can help you with managing glucose levels.

Read on to take a look at some of the Dexcom G6’s pros and cons.

Benefits of the Dexcom G6

  • easy, pain-free insertion
  • self-retracting needle that’s free of a plunger system
  • water-resistant
  • continuously tracks blood glucose levels
  • can alert you if your blood sugar is trending high or low
  • a sharing feature allows you to share your data with 10 people
  • silent option, alarms, and customizable alerts
  • sends data to a receiver, smartphone, or insulin pump
  • doesn’t interact with acetaminophen (paracetamol)
  • discreet design prevents the device from getting caught on clothing or interfering with physical activity
  • 10-day wears
Healthline

Cons of the Dexcom G6

  • expensive without insurance
  • the sensor may fall off before day 10
  • can’t restart if your sensor fails before the 10 days
  • the adhesive sticker can come off the sensor, which can make readings disappear
  • the device can disconnect from your phone or pump, which makes it less reliable
  • can take a long time to reconnect if it loses its signal
  • cumbersome applicator takes up storage or suitcase space
  • certain features are only available on the app and not on the receiver
  • isn’t compatible with all smartphones
Healthline

The Dexcom G6 is a CGM that helps people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels.

It’s a stand-alone device designed to add safety and ease to diabetes management plans. The Dexcom G6 is known for its comfortable insertion and ease of use, requiring fewer finger pricks than other devices.

In 2018, the Dexcom G6 received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market the device as a CGM system to track blood glucose levels in people ages 2 years and up with diabetes.

It was the first CGM to gain FDA approval for use with electronic devices used to manage diabetes. This may include automated insulin dosing systems, insulin pumps, and blood glucose meters.

Q: What’s one thing to keep in mind when considering a glucose monitor like the Dexcom G6?

Anonymous Healthline reader

A:

From a medical perspective, one of the most important features leading us to prescribe the Dexcom G6 is its ability to alert the patient, and family or friends who receive their data, for high or low blood sugars.

This is especially important for people with frequent low blood sugars or a condition called hypoglycemia unawareness, where they no longer feel symptoms of low blood sugar. Alerts for hypoglycemia, particularly while patients are sleeping, can be lifesaving.

Michelle L. Griffith, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Healthline

According to reviews, the Dexcom G6 is extremely reliable and accurate.

Amy Tenderich, editorial director of Healthline’s DiabetesMine, tested the device after its release in 2018. She described the accuracy as “astoundingly good” and reported fewer lost connections in comparison to the G5.

While Tenderich doesn’t have an issue with the inability to restart a sensor to use it beyond the 10 days, she pointed out that she “always found the accuracy starting to decline on my last few days.”

This is something to keep in mind if your glucose levels change rapidly or if you require constant readings. Tenderich also noted that her sensors came off due to a lack of adhesion.

Based on customer reviews from consumer sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot, people are satisfied with the Dexcom G6 and 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.

Several customers mention that they received defective transmitters and sensors. Some people find that the inaccuracy of their readings requires frequent finger pricks.

You’ll need a prescription to get the Dexcom G6, which includes a transmitter, sensors, and an optional touch screen receiver. You must replace the transmitter every 3 months and the sensor every 10 days.

You can get the device from Dexcom, a pharmacy, or a medical distributor. Most health insurance plans cover the Dexcom G6, but you may be required to get a prior authorization (PA) from your doctor to prove that it’s medically necessary.

If your insurance plan doesn’t cover additional costs, you may be able to set up a payment plan through Dexcom.

A Dexcom G6 subscription costs at least $300 per month, which is more expensive than some of the other CGM options.

Find the Dexcom G6 online.

A 2019 research review emphasized the need for CGMs to provide continuous, accurate readings in certain populations.

Continuous monitoring is especially important for people with type 1 diabetes since their glucose levels may change rapidly. They may benefit from algorithms that can predict and alert for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

People with type 2 diabetes may simply need to know that their levels are within a healthy range.

For people who have used the Dexcom G4 or G5 and found it effective for their needs, the Dexcom G6 may be a good option.

What to keep in mind if considering the Dexcom G6 monitor

With accuracy and reliability in mind, you’ll need to consider how easy it is for you to manage your glucose levels.

Talk with your doctor if:

  • your glucose levels change often
  • you find it challenging to manage your glucose levels
  • you’re unsure whether you need to monitor your glucose levels so closely

To use the Dexcom G6 monitor:

  1. Remove the adhesive backings.
  2. Apply the inserter to your stomach on clean, dry skin.
  3. Use the disposable auto-applicator to insert the sensor under your skin.
  4. Enter the code found on the top adhesive to coordinate each new sensor with the receiver or app.

The Dexcom G6 offers 10 days of wearability, compared to its previous 7-day limit. It’s no longer possible to restart a sensor or wear it for more than 10 days.

The new model features a predictive alert that notifies you if you’re moving into unstable glucose levels.

Overall, the G6 is more accurate and reliable than the older model while requiring fewer fingerstick calibrations.

The company offers tutorials to help you get started.

Dexcom also offers 24/7 technical support.

Precautions

Read user manuals and learn about your Dexcom or other CGM device, and keep these precautions in mind:

  • Don’t wear your CGM during MRI scans, CT scans, or heat treatments.
  • Ensure the G6 avoids contact with bug repellents and other skin care products like sunscreens. These products can weaken the plastic case.

There are several other glucose monitors on the market that are similar to the Dexcom G6. Here are a few to consider:

  • Guardian Connect. This stand-alone CGM sends updates, notifications, and predictions to your smartphone. Offering 7-day wears, it can help stabilize glucose levels. The device is FDA approved for people ages 17 to 75.
  • FreeStyle Libre Flash. Offering 14-day wears, you insert the sensor in your upper arm. It provides flash readings each time you swipe the receiver or your smartphone over the sensor. It’s FDA approved for people ages 18 and up.
  • Eversense. The tiny sensor of this device is implanted beneath the skin in your upper arm. It requires you to remove and charge the transmitter daily. This long-term option is approved for 90-day wears in the United States and 180-day wears in Europe. It’s FDA approved for people 18 and up.

In a head-to-head comparison study looking at the Dexcom G5 and G6, researchers found that the rate of use for the G6 and accuracy level was equivalent to the G5. (It’s important to note that these researchers work for Dexcom.)

In a 2021 research review looking at studies of CGM performance during exercise, researchers concluded that exercise negatively affects CGM accuracy. So, you may not get your most accurate reads during aerobic and other activities.

Modern CGMs are generally becoming more accurate as companies continue to develop technology for measuring blood glucose levels at consistent and frequent intervals.

These monitors aren’t right for all people and all situations, so more research is needed.

For many people, the Dexcom G6 can be a reliable tool to help manage blood glucose levels.

It may be ideal for you if you want to interpret data related to your diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle choices to better regulate your glucose levels.

Provided it’s covered by your health insurance, the Dexcom G6 may be a valuable addition to your diabetes care plan that can help enhance your quality of life.