Medication Search: Dexcom G6 System

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Dexcom G6 System

Common Name:

real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rt-CGM) system (Dexcom G6)


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

The Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (Dexcom G6 System or G6) is a type of glucose monitoring system known as a real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rt-CGM) system. It is used to measure glucose levels in people with diabetes. With a continuous glucose monitoring system, a sensor inserted underneath the skin checks your glucose levels every few minutes. A transmitter device then sends these readings to a display device like a smartphone app or receiver. These readings help you and your health care team to make decisions to manage your diabetes.

Similar devices may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brands for this device type may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this device type may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitoring system requires a G6 Sensor, G6 Transmitter, and display device. Each sensor comes with an applicator to insert it into the skin and a transmitter holder. Display devices include the G6 Receiver and smart devices with the G6 app.  Check the manufacturer’s device compatibility list before using your smart device with the G6 system.

How should I use this medication?

The Dexcom G6 system provides glucose readings up to every 5 minutes and sends this data to the G6 app and/or G6 receiver via Bluetooth®. Colour indicators and trend arrows are provided with each glucose reading. The Dexcom G6 can also notify you if you may be at risk of experiencing a severe low or high glucose event, and can warn you up to 20 minutes before a severe low with a predictive alert. These features can help you to prepare for changes in your glucose levels, should your glucose levels deviate from your target range.

To use the Dexcom G6, download and open the G6 app on a compatible smart device. You may also use the G6 receiver as your display device instead of downloading the app, or you can choose to use both devices. Follow the onscreen instructions provided on your selected display device to insert your sensor and attach your transmitter. After a 2-hour warmup period, your G6 system will be ready for use.

Another feature of the Dexcom G6 system includes an option to set custom alerts for various situations. You may also connect your smart device to a smart watch to view your G6 app glucose readings, and to get alarms, alerts, and notifications on it.

If you are unsure of how to use the device, contact your health care professional or the manufacturer. It is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions when making treatment decisions based on glucose readings from the Dexcom G6. Refer to the manufacturer’s product information to learn more about accessing G6 features on your display device.

Dexcom G6 Sensors

Sensors for the Dexcom G6 system should be worn continuously and replaced every 10 days. You will receive alerts on your display device to replace the sensor starting 24 hours before your sensor session ends. If you need to remove your sensor before 10 days have passed, you may end your session early by accessing this feature in your G6 app or G6 receiver settings.

For people who are 18 years of age and older, the sensor should be inserted into the abdomen or the back of the upper arms. For people who are between 2 to 17 years of age, the sensor should be inserted into the abdomen or upper buttocks.

Sensors should be inserted at least 8 cm away from any pump infusion set or injection sites. It’s best to insert sensors away from the waistband, scars, tattoos, irritated skin, or bony areas, as well as any locations where they might get bumped, pushed, or laid on while sleeping.

Wash your hands with soap and water, instead of hand sanitizer or other gel cleaners, before opening the sensor package. Clean the area where you plan to insert the sensor with alcohol wipes. Wait until the skin is dry before inserting the sensor to help it stay attached to the skin. Keep the safety guard on the Dexcom G6 applicator until you’re ready to use it.

Sensors should be kept in their original packaging until you are ready to use them. They should be stored in temperatures between 2°C and 30°C. Do not keep sensors in the freezer. If the packaging appears damaged or opened, do not use it. Do not use any sensors beyond their use by date.

Dexcom G6 Transmitters

Transmitters for the Dexcom G6 system should be worn continuously and replaced every 3 months. The transmitter is intended to be reused over multiple 10-day sensor sessions, until the Dexcom G6 system tells you that the transmitter battery will expire. You will receive alerts on your display device to replace the transmitter starting 3 weeks before this date. Between each 10-day session, the transmitter should be cleaned with an alcohol wipe before reusing it.

Transmitters should be kept in their box until they’re ready to be used, and stored in temperatures between 0°C and 45°C. Do not let children hold transmitters without adult supervision, and do not put it in your mouth as the device can be a choking hazard. Do not use damaged or cracked transmitters.

Dexcom G6 Receivers

Dexcom G6 receivers may be used as the display device instead of the Dexcom G6 app available for compatible smart devices. The receiver typically needs to be recharged every 2 days using an electrical outlet, rather than a computer or laptop port. A full charge may take up to 3 hours.

Receivers should be kept protected when not being used. They should be stored at temperatures between 0°C and 40°C. If you are not planning to use the receiver for more than 3 months, fully charge the battery before storing it away.

When disposing Dexcom G6 receivers, transmitters, and sensors, follow your area’s local waste management requirements. Sensors may need to be disposed of in a different way than electronics like transmitters and receivers, as they come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Unless otherwise directed by your health care professional, the Dexcom G6 system should not be used by anyone who is:

  • less than 2 years of age
  • on dialysis treatment
  • pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • severely ill

The Dexcom G6 system should not be worn in these situations:

  • computed tomography (CT) scan
  • high-frequency electrical heat (diathermy) treatment
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medical devices can cause adverse events. Adverse events are unexpected problems or reactions that you can experience when using a medical device even when they’re used correctly. Adverse events can be mild or severe, temporary, or permanent.

The adverse events listed below are not experienced by everyone who uses this device. If you are concerned about adverse events, discuss the risks and benefits of this device with your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional.

Contact your doctor if you experience these adverse events and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist or health care professional may be able to advise you on managing adverse events.

  • Signs of infection or inflammation at the insertion site (e.g., bleeding, burning, itching, redness, rash, swelling, or pain)

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medical device, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this device.

Accuracy: The Dexcom G6 system checks the glucose levels in your interstitial fluid, which is the bodily fluid found in the spaces surrounding your cells and tissues, instead of your blood. As a result, the readings obtained from your G6 system can vary from your blood glucose meter readings.

If your blood glucose meter reading and G6 reading are between 20% to 29% different, your G6 system may be working but is off from your blood glucose meter. You may still use your G6 readings for treatment decisions, however it is recommended to use readings from your blood glucose meter if your symptoms or expectations do not align with your G6 readings.

If your blood glucose meter reading and G6 reading are more than 30% different, your G6 readings may be inaccurate. It is recommended to use readings from your blood glucose meter if your symptoms or expectations do not align with your G6 readings. Consider also calibrating your G6 system with your blood glucose meter, replacing your sensor, or contacting the manufacturer.

Allergies: Some people may be sensitive to the adhesive used in the G6 sensors. If you’re noticing signs of skin irritation, such as itching, burning, or rash on the skin area where the adhesive patch is touching, talk to your health care professional.

Calibration: Although the Dexcom G6 system does not require you to calibrate it by comparing with your blood glucose monitor readings, it’s important to enter the correct sensor code when starting a new sensor. Incorrect sensor codes can cause your sensor to not work or give you incorrect glucose readings.

If you do not use the correct sensor code for calibration, you can calibrate your Dexcom G6 system using values obtained from a blood glucose meter. When calibrating using this method, it is recommended to use blood drawn from your fingertips for your sample. Enter the blood glucose value obtained from your meter, and not your Dexcom G6 reading, within 5 minutes of obtaining it.

Regardless of how you choose to calibrate your Dexcom G6 system, use your blood glucose meter to make treatment decisions for the first 2 hours after inserting your sensor.

Device compatibility: Not all smart devices or operating systems may be compatible with the Dexcom G6 system. Check the manufacturer’s device compatibility list before using your smart device with the G6 system. 

Insulin stacking: Taking multiple insulin doses close together (i.e., within 2 hours or less) can decrease your glucose readings very quickly and cause severe low glucose events. Talk to your health care professional if your G6 readings are not changing as expected after taking an insulin dose.

Notifications: Notifications on the Dexcom G6 app may be affected by your smart phone’s Bluetooth®, app notifications, and mute or “Do Not Disturb” settings. If you are not receiving notifications on your smart phone, check to see that your device’s Bluetooth® is turned on and that app notifications have been enabled. Keep your device’s battery charged.

If you have a smart watch connected to your G6 app, keep in mind that your smart watch only communicates with your smart device and not the G6 transmitter. If you are not receiving notifications on your G6 smart watch, check that your smart device is connected to your smart watch, and that notifications are enabled for both your smart device and smart watch.

App or operating system updates may affect your G6 app settings or shut down the app. Check your app settings after these events.

Security screening: Baggage x-ray machines and body scanners used at the airport and other security check points may damage Dexcom G6 system devices. In these cases, or if you are not sure what type of scan may be used, ask security staff to use a hand-wand or perform a full-body pat-down instead. You may safely wear the G6 system while passing through metal detectors.

Sensor site rotation: Using the same sensor site too often can prevent your skin from healing, which can lead to scars or skin irritation. Follow the recommended areas of sensor skin insertion for your age group and change your insertion site each time you use a new sensor.

Sensor wires: In rare cases, sensor wires may break or become detached and remain under your skin. If this happens, contact your health care professional and the manufacturer’s technical support line.

Skin care products: Certain types of skin care products, including insect repellents, lotions, perfumes, and sunscreens, can cause the plastic used in the G6 receiver, transmitter, or transmitter holder to crack when they come into contact. After using any skin care products, wash your hands before touching any G6 components. Use a clean cloth to wipe off any skincare products that come into contact with your system’s devices.

Sounds: The Dexcom G6 app and receiver device both have different options for alarm and alert sounds. If you are using the G6 app on a smart device, the use of your device’s mute or “Do Not Disturb” setting may disable certain notification sounds on your Dexcom G6 system. Sound devices connected to your device, such as headphones or external speakers, can cause your alarm or alerts to sound differently.

If you are unable to hear the alarm or alerts on the G6 app, check your app, Bluetooth®, volume, and notification settings. If you are unable to hear the alarm or alerts on the G6 receiver device, use the Test Sound feature to check your audio and find the right sound setting.

Time zones: the Dexcom G6 app may show the wrong time or stop displaying data if you manually change the time and date on your device. If you need to change time zones or switch between standard time and daylight saving time on your smart device, make sure that these changes are set to take place automatically in your device’s settings.

Transmitter range: The Dexcom G6 transmitter sends glucose readings via Bluetooth® to your display device as long it is within a 6 meter (or 20 feet) distance with no walls or obstacles between them. If you are swimming or underwater, this range may be reduced.

Treatment decisions: The Dexcom G6 system helps you to make treatment decisions with trend arrows and different colours based on your target range. If you are not familiar with using the G6 system, it is recommended to continue using your blood glucose meter to make treatment decisions until you know how it works for you. Certain factors such as meals, exercise, and the first day of use may affect your G6 readings differently compared to those obtained from your blood glucose meter.

Check with your health care professional if you feel unsure about using your G6 readings to make treatment decisions. It’s recommended to use your blood glucose meter if you notice any of the following on your G6 display device:

  • No number
  • No arrow
  • Neither number nor arrow

If you are experiencing symptoms but your G6 readings indicate that you are in your target range, use your blood glucose meter to check and make treatment decisions.

Water damage: While the Dexcom G6 transmitter is water resistant, the G6 receiver is not. Do not submerge your G6 receiver device in water and avoid getting any dirt or water in the USB port to prevent malfunctions.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

They may be an interaction between the Dexcom G6 system and any of the following:

  • acetaminophen (in doses higher than 1 gram every 6 hours)
  • hydroxyurea

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. These medications may affect the accuracy of your Dexcom G6 glucose readings and the treatment decisions that you may make using them. An interaction between a medical device and a medication does not mean that you must stop using the device or stop taking the medication.

Medications other than the ones listed above may interact with this device. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, nicotine from cigarettes, and street drugs can affect your glucose readings, you should let your doctor or pharmacist know if you use them.

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Last Updated: 23/04/2024