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Testing safe and right with your glucose meters and strips

USFDA | Updated on April 13, 2019

Using a glucose meter to check and monitor blood sugar is a daily part of life for millions of Americans with diabetes. Glucose meters and test strips are medical devices regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, and the FDA wants to ensure these devices are used safely.

Beware of buying previously-owned test strips. Test strips are part of many tests for home use that allow people to test for or monitor some diseases or health conditions, including diabetes. The FDA is aware that some sellers are marketing pre-owned or second-hand test strips to consumers. These are unused test strips previously owned by someone else.

These pre-owned strips may be sold at lower prices when compared to new strips. For instance, you may see flyers advertising cheap test strips in your neighbourhood, or you may see sellers marketing cheap test strips online. But pre-owned strips can give incorrect results and may not be safe for use with devices.

In April 2019, the FDA issued a Safety Communication on this for consumers, caregivers, and healthcare providers. Test strips should be properly stored to give accurate results. Incorrect results can put you at risk for serious health complications — even death.

When it comes to buying test strips of any kind, the FDA recommends that you buy new, unopened vials and that you do not buy pre-owned test strips.

Other safety considerations include:

Do quality control checks of your device. Regularly test your meter using a control solution to make sure the test strips and meter are working properly together.

Understand what the meter display means. Sometimes they are displayed as “LO” or “HI” when the glucose level is beyond the range that the meter can measure. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Be aware that readings from alternate sites — such as your forearm or palm — can be less accurate than fingertip readings when your glucose levels change quickly, for example, after you eat or during exercise.

Source: USFDA

Published on April 12, 2019

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