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For some time continuous glucose monitoring has been available, enabling patients to comprehend fully the extent of glycaemic excursions and the knock-on effects that occur with day-to-day diabetes control. However, unlike simple capillary blood glucose measurements, the continuous glucose monitoring sensor (CGMS) has, up until now, provided downloadable, retrospective data. Newer innovations have led to the development of ‘ real-time’ CGMSs, empowering the patient by providing an effective early warning system and audible alarms. Contrary to initial concerns regarding these devices, patients are not overwhelmed by the data and trial evidence reveals a demonstrable improvement in HbA1c. We identify the monitors available in the UK and summarise trial evidence to date in this newly emerging field. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons.