Should You Use Expired Diabetes Test Strips?
If you have diabetes, you are probably familiar with the handy little strips you use to test your blood glucose levels. However, do you pay attention to their expiration dates and should you use expired strips? First, you must know the material they are made of in order to understand their expiration. The strips are made of plastic but coated with the enzymes glucose dehydrogenase or glucose oxidase. They are proteins made by living organism cells which do break down over time. The enzyme from the strip reacts with the blood’s glucose and converts it into an electrical current which enables the glucose meter to show the glucose concentration. So, since strips have parts of living organisms, they do expire. Factors That Affect the Expiration Date of Diabetes Test Strips Even though there’s a scheduled expiration date on diabetes test strips, you should know the factors that affect it, which include: The use of different enzymes – some companies use a less stable enzyme with a better accuracy. Others use less accurate enzymes with longer-term storage. And third, might use the cheapest alternative. Storage – the place where you keep your diabetes test strips affects their expiration date. Keeping them at a too low or high temperature could alter their performance. Humidity and exposure to air are another factors that affect their expiration. Also, make sure they nothing damages them. How much time has passed since they have expired The Accuracy of Expiration Dates If the expiration date says the strips will last until December 1st, does it mean they will give an accurate result the day before, and a wrong one the day after? Well, the reality is there’s no such accuracy that can tell the exact day the strips will expire. In fact, most manufacturers set the bar a b Continue reading >>
Expired Diabetic Test Strips: Should You Use Them?
One of the biggest debates concerning diabetic test strips has always centered on the use of test strips beyond the expiration date. The reason for such a big swing on both sides is the fact that an expired box of test strips may read very close to a test strip that hasn’t expired (within 5 points on either side). This then leads the patient to believe that all expired test strips are fine to use as long as the strips aren’t ‘too old’. After combing several blogs, I’ve noticed that a large number of diabetic patients who use expired test strips believe the Pharmaceutical industry places an expiration date on test strips in order to generate a larger, more steady income. On the other hand, the patients who believe test strips expire seem to all have stories about getting incorrect readings when testing against newer dated test strips. So, is it true that the Pharmacy industry is setting expiration dates for their own personal gain? To find the correct answer, we must first understand what a test strip is actually made of in order to determine if an expiration date is really needed or not. What’s inside a Diabetic Test Strip? A Diabetic test strip, like the Nipro TRUEtest Glucose test strips, consists of a coating on the top layer in order to protect and seal the components and circuit of the strip. The sample chamber is the window in which your blood sample is initially placed on. The chamber has several different parts attached including the spacer, two adhesives that fit in between the spacer, and a liquid attracting layer. All of these parts combined assist in moving the blood sample to the strip known as the chemistry strip. The chemistry strip has two major components. The first is the enzyme which is a ‘living’ protein that attaches itself to glucos Continue reading >>
How Long Are Test Strips Good After You Open The Bottle?
Posted: March, 2012 If you landed on this page, I suggest you go to the beginning to see what affects the accuracy of test strips. In an effort to know how long after you open a test strip bottle they can be used, I called 6 major manufacturers of Glucose Meters. I asked each of them how long their strips are good, after the bottle is first opened. Assuming your are closing the bottle after each use and storing the bottle per the manufacturers directions, here are the results. All the customer service representatives were very helpful and I had no problem getting my questions answered1. OneTouch® - Good for 6 months after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. Accu-Chek® - Good to the expiration date on the bottle. The strips have an 18 month life span and it is estimated that once they arrive at the retailer they have 14 to 16 months left. FreeStyle® - Good until the expiration date on the bottle. Bayer® - Good until the expiration date on the bottle. Agamatrix® - Good for 90 days (three months) after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. Nipro Diagnostics®- Good for 120 days (4 months) after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. I find it interesting that Agamatrix®, manufacture of the WaveSense™ technology only last 90 days while the Accu-Chek® last up to 16 months. I find it somewhat odd that Abbott and Bayer do not establish a shorter expiration date based on the first opening the of the bottle while all the other strip manufactures do establish a time restriction. I am told that both Agamatrix® and OneTouch® test strips are available in a 25 count bottle. I like that idea. If I learn of any others who provide a less than 50 count Continue reading >>
Do Diabetic Test Strips Expire?
Yes, diabetic test strips expire. To understand why diabetic test strips expire, you need to know a little bit about how they work. Test strips contain enzymes that help convert glucose into electricity—this electrochemical signal is read by your meter and translated into the number that appears on your screen. Diabetic test strips expire because these enzymes degrade over time. As the enzymes degrade, the electrochemical signal being sent to the meter will become weaker, resulting in lower readings. Test strips are also highly sensitive to heat and humidity and will expire more quickly when exposed to excess heat or humidity. Most test strip containers contain a substance that absorbs moisture to protect the test strips when they are exposed to moist climates. The substance can only absorb so much moisture before it becomes saturated so test strips need to be protected from moisture as much as possible. The amount of heat/humidity that causes an inaccurate reading varies depending on the brand of test strips. A good rule of thumb is to keep test strips between 40°F-86°F (4°C-30°C) and to limit exposure to the environment by keeping vials closed between testing and using test strips within 6 months of opening vials. Control solutions should also be used periodically to make sure you are receiving accurate readings. Control solutions, while helpful, do not provide very precise measurements. They usually come in low, normal, and high ranges. Low control solutions measure levels between ~30-60 mg/dL, normal control solutions measure levels between ~70-120 mg/dL, and high control solutions measure levels between ~250-400. As you can see these are large ranges and should not be the sole method used to determine if readings are accurate. If you don’t think you are get Continue reading >>
The Dangers Of Expired Blood Sugar Test Strips
Most people may not be aware of this but diabetic test strips do have an expiration date. It is clearly printed on them. Many believe that the date mentioned on the blood sugar test strips is not the actual expire date. There is a notion that an additional six months of life following the expire date is allowed on strips as long as the strips are still in the unopened vial and stored in a dry, cool shaded area. The additional cushion was added to the date of expiration in order to prevent diabetics from testing with a strip that is a few days old. Old strips are known to give bad reading. Moreover, it is not illegal for an individual to test with expired strips. This is usually up to the diabetic if they wanted to use them. Many feel that they get same readings at a time via using expired strips and in date strips. However, it is important to remember that expired Blood Sugar Test Strips will never guarantee accuracy. Another problem is that you cannot claim compensation for any false information or data recovered from expired product. Every product has its shelf life past which the manufacturers don’t guarantee accuracy, performance, and compensation. And it is not wise to take risks with a life threatening disease like diabetes. The risks for expired glucose test strips are inaccurate results. Hence, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer's directions for storage and use of test strips to reduce this risk. Using strips improperly may put you at risk for uncontrolled blood glucose levels. The problem has very dangerous consequences. Hence, it is crucial to pay close attention to the expiration date of glucose test strips. Avoid using a glucose test strip if it appears to be wet or damaged. Continue reading >>
Donating Expired Diabetic Strips
We are donating the supplies pictured today to both local and national diabetic charities to help both people and animals affected with diabetes. These supplies are badly needed by those who cannot afford the high cost of testing blood glucose levels. The diabetic supplies donated include Freestyle Lite, Accu-Chek meters and lancets, Truetest test strips, BD alcohol wipes, Gmate test strips, Prodigy Test Strips and Liberty lancets and control solutions. We could not do this important work without your help. Diabetics everywhere thank you! Can Dogs Have Diabetes? Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog. It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder—and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives. What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get? Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.) The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I require insulin therapy to survive. Type II diabetes is found in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin. What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs? The following Continue reading >>
Is It Ok To Use Expired Diabetes Test Strips
I have been a diabetic all my life and I wanted to share this information. I have completed alot of research on diabetes and diabetic testing. I have been associated with alot of doctors and have also had the joy of being associated with an individual who was involved in the actual testing of diabetic test strips at a research center. The following information was shared with me by these individuals and I would like to share it with you. Diabetic test strips do have an expiration date printed on them but that is not the actual expire date. There ia an additional six months of life after the expire date as long as the strips are still in the unopened vial and stored in a dry,cool shaded area. This extra cushion was added to the expire date to prevent us diabetics from testing with a strip a few days old resulting in a bad reading. In my research I could not find any indication that it is illegal for an individual to test with, buy or sell expired strips.This would also indicate that it should be up to the diabetic if they wanted to use them, up to the seller if they wanted to sell them or the buyer if they wanted to buy them. I have done my on test with expired strips and in date strips and recieved the same reading from both so I feel comfortable with using them. With the research and the conversations, I can understand why someone would buy expired strips. This helps those who have low income, no medical coverage or benefit from the low cost. I have seen the price of the in date strips on ebay climbing more and more and this is a concern. I understand someone wanting to make some extra money but I do not agree with making a killing off of someone elses misfortune nor do I agree with someone bidding on they're own strips or having someone do this for them just to get th Continue reading >>
No Strips And Expired Strips!
As a T1D I know how important it is to have blood glucose strips which aren’t out of date, an expired strip could potentially give me the wrong blood glucose reading. Let’s face it that number that appears on the meter is so important, because as a diabetic I live by the numbers which appear on my meter. It allows me to confirm whether I have a low, high or a good blood glucose level (4-7 mmol/l). Depending on what the outcome may be I can then act by either treating my low, high or just do nothing but record my level. Knowing my BGL’s are of great importance and it is just as significant as my insulin. My insulin and test strips are pivotal to me being able to manage my diabetes to the best standard possible. Unfortunately I can’t say that I’ve always had an abundant number of strips available or never been faced with expired test strips. I’d be lying if I said that has never happened to me. That night I realised I used expired blood glucose strips…………….. I was woken one night because I just didn’t feel right. I felt as if my sugar was high. I reached for my blood glucose meter and realised I’d run out of strips. Actually I knew I didn’t have that many strips available the night before and had used the last one before bed. Therefore I checked in my usual back up strip storage places and couldn’t find a thing. My next move is always to go to my other blood glucose meters (x1) and see if there might be any strips in there. Yup I found nothing! So I decided to dig out some old meters (how I did this half asleep I do not know). By the way I have one really ancient meter with no battery and the other was the same as my (One touch Ultra Easy). I opened up the case for the meter and (bling) I’ve never been so happy to see blood glucose strips a Continue reading >>
Can People With Diabetes Use Expired Blood Glucose Test Strips?
There has long been the debate of whether people with diabetes can use expired test strips. So, can you? Rather than simply answering yes or no, it is important to first understand what exactly a test strip is, and why the argument over expiration first came to pass. The key aspect is enzymes. Enzymes, which are proteins made by cells in all living organisms, coat the end of the strip, which is made of plastic. These enzymes are either glucose oxidase or glucose dehydrogenase. The enzyme reacts with the glucose in a person’s blood and converts it into an electrical current. Upon the electricity being sent through the strip, the glucose concentration is presented by the blood glucose meter. Here’s the thing, though. Enzymes break down over time. The activity of enzymes can decrease following exposure to humidity or extreme temperatures. This can alter the accuracy of glucose readings long before a scheduled expiration date. Subsequently, errors can begin to appear with rogue readings of either a high or low nature. Because the enzymes break down, manufacturers therefore place an expiration date on the strips. This is a necessity for manufacturers. Even if they are confident the strips will display accurate readings for x amount of time, one faulty test strip could lead to a diabetic patient making a management decision that could cost them their lives. The dates may differ depending on how the strips are made. The use of different enzymes can provide greater accuracy with a shorter life or vice versa. Some companies may go for the cheapest alternatives. The accuracy of expiration dates No-one is expected to believe that an expiration date scheduled for a Wednesday will enable to you test accurately on Tuesday, and then not again the day after. However, anecdotal e Continue reading >>
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Blood Glucose Monitors: What Factors Affect Accuracy?
Sometimes my blood glucose monitor seems to give incorrect readings. What can I do to make sure the measurement is accurate? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. When used correctly, blood glucose monitors — small devices that measure and display your blood sugar level — are usually accurate. But occasionally they may be incorrect. Consider these factors that affect meter accuracy and the steps to resolve or prevent the problem: Factors that affect accuracy Solutions Test strip problems Throw out damaged or outdated test strips. Store strips in their sealed container; keep them away from heat, moisture and humidity. Be sure the strips are meant for your specific glucose meter. Extreme temperatures Keep your glucose meter and test strips at room temperature. Alcohol, dirt or other substances on your skin Wash and dry your hands and the testing site thoroughly before pricking your skin. Improper coding Some meters must be coded to each container of test strips. Be sure the code number in the device matches the code number on the test strip container. Monitor problems Fully insert the test strip into the monitor. Replace the monitor batteries as needed. Not enough blood applied to the test strip Touch a generous drop of blood to the test strip. Don't add more blood to the test strip after the first drop is applied. Testing site location If you're using a site other than your fingertip and you think the reading is wrong, test again using blood from a fingertip. Blood samples from alternate sites aren't as accurate as fingertip samples when your blood sugar level is rising or falling quickly. The amount of red blood cells in your blood If you are dehydrated or your red blood cell count is low (anemia), your test results may be less accurate. Blood glucose monitor quality Continue reading >>
Using Expired Test Strips: Ok Or Not?
Test strips, those tiny slips that our glucose meters use to transport a drop of blood to their reader, can be expensive. There are many brands of glucose meters, and generally each meter requires its own brand of test strips. Often, the meters are free, or at the very least, inexpensive. Of course, they require their own unique brand of strips, and that is where the money is made. The expense of testing strips, and the lack of insurance coverage for them, leads to thoughts of how to save money on them. For a well-controlled type 2 diabetic this might not be such a big deal, as testing might only be necessary once or twice a day. For type 1 diabetics, or those type 2s who struggle to maintain control, testing is likely needed many times a day. There have been several unofficial and anecdotal “experiments” done to see if it is possible to use expired strips and get accurate readings. A review of many of these web-published efforts has shown that the accuracy of the readings that come from using expired strips is, at best, a hit-or-miss result. Reusing strips has an even more dismal result, with few strips giving any reading at all on a second use, and virtually none giving an accurate reading. Tips for Keeping the Cost Down Rather than accepting a free or low-cost glucose meter and then being stuck with expensive test strips, shop the test strips first. There are low-cost or generic strips out there, and each brand will tell you which meters they are compatible with. A one-time meter purchase, no matter how expensive, can save you a great amount of money if the strips are less expensive. Know how many strips you need in a day, a week or a month. Buy accordingly. If you are testing your blood only twice each day, then you will need no more than 62 strips each month. I Continue reading >>
Can I Reuse Blood Glucose Test Strips?
Blood glucose monitoring is a very important part of diabetes management. In order to avoid diabetes-related complications, you need to constantly be aware of your rising blood glucose levels. As a result, diabetes patients need to use the glucose test strips on a regular basis. However, the high budget in which these are available often gives rise to the question “Can I Reuse Blood Glucose Test Strips?” Let us analyze the same in the article that follows and also see if the diabetes patients have other alternatives available at their disposal with which they can regularly be aware of their blood glucose levels. How do the Glucose Test Strips Work? Let us first start by understanding how the test strips actually work. A typical glucose test strip mainly comprises of several different layers. The topmost layer mainly is responsible for soaking the blood that is used for testing of the blood sample. In the layers that follow, there is a layer that consists of an enzyme which reacts with your blood glucose, a layer that has chemicals responsible to complete the entire process before the enzymes and the other chemicals become less active. With the entire sample reaching the bottom layer, the electrons in the chemical are then transferred to the meter for smooth analysis. The entire reaction is then transferred through a circuit into the computer chip in which this process is converted into a reading and where you can also check your reading of the blood glucose levels. How Often Should You Test Your Blood Glucose? As we know, it is very important to regularly monitor your blood glucose levels if you are someone who suffers from diabetes. This is extremely important because if your blood has elevated levels of glucose, you are sure to face a lot of complications includin Continue reading >>
Using Expired Test Strips
Using expired test strips can save you a lot of money, but are they accurate? This is an important question for diabetics who can not afford new test strips or for those who want to know their old test strips are still safe. We tested several brands of test strips that had been expired between 1 and 5 years and found that accuracy depended upon the length of time since expiration and the brand of test strip. Test strips were tested with brand specific controls that had at least 6 months until expiration. Test strips were tested 3 times per each control solution (normal, high, low) and averages, standard deviations, and %RSD were used to determine accuracy and precision. Brands of test strips tested included: One Touch Ultra, One Touch Ultra Blue, FreeStyle Lite, FreeStyle, FreeStyle Insulinx, Accu-Chek Aviva Plus, Accu-Chek Compact, Bayer Breeze 2, Bayer Contour, Bayer Contour Next, Advocate, Element, Embrace, Liberty, Precision Xtra, TrueTest, TrueBalance, and Nova Max. Results are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please follow the advice of your physician. Expired Test Strips Data Test strips that had been expired for 1 year or less were not found to have a statistically significant variation in readings compared to unexpired test stirps. The majority of test strips at the 2 year mark were within the control solution range with the exception of Precision Xtra. Precision Xtra test strips that had been expired for more than 1 year were very slow at absorbing the control solution and readings were neither accurate nor precise. At three years past expiration Precision Xtra test strips read on average 102 below for high controls and read low (<20 mg/dL) for low controls. Test strips that had been expired m Continue reading >>
Do Not Throw Away Old Blood Sugar Test-strips
I've got an Aviva Accu-chek [R] blood sugar test meter. Last year, and this year, my employer based private health insurance covered test strips 100% with no deductible. Cool. In 2010, the cost of the test strips and lancets will be applied until my newly imposed $2000 deductible is reached - so I looked into how expensive these test strips are - more than a $1 each! Yikes! ('08 and '09 had no "deductible" for my family & I) Yikes, considering that a few months ago, I tried to use an "old" refill. "Old", in that they were 2008 strips, instead of 2009 - Aviva (and many other meter makers) have this annoying little IC chip you have to stick into the side of the meter for "calibration". Built into that chip is an evil "expiration date" that yields the strips obsolete after a date that some marketing genius has pre-determined. Grrrrrrrrr! Yeah, if I did not have central HVAC, and didn't live in a state where the average RH is below 15%, then "shelf life" MIGHT be a problem - but everyone stores and keeps all sorts of things in the desert, and sealed container test strips, are No Different! So I removed the battery out of the back of my meter, waited a minute for capacitors to discharge, reinserted it, and reset the date to January 2009. When 01Jan2010 arrives on the global calendar, I will not be throwing away perfectly good test strips again, since my meter will believe it is only March 2009. =) Continue reading >>
Is It Okay To Use Expired Diabetic Test Strips?
Have you ever thought about using expired diabetic test strips to save money? Read this article to find out whether or not it’s a good idea. Diabetic test strips can be expensive. Some of them range up to $2 a piece. And in a box of 50, that can really start to add up. It’s understandable that you’d want to be able to get the most for your money from that. It’s understandable that you’d want to be able to get the most for your money from that. That’s why it can be so frustrating when they reach their expiration date before you’re finished with them and you have to throw them away. When this happens, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the worst that will happen if I use these?” Well, the conversation around expired test strips is actually very lively. Many people have an opinion on whether or not using expired test strips is the right thing to do. We’re here to give you all of the facts, so that you can form an opinion of your own How do diabetic test strips work? In order to understand whether or not you should be using an expired test strip, it can be useful to understand how they work. The basic explanation is this — a liquid-attracting layer moves your blood into the little window on the strip, which is known as the “chemistry strip.” This strip is made up of an enzyme and what’s known as a mediator. The enzyme attaches itself to the glucose in your blood and pulls off sugar electrons. The mediator then passes the enzyme through the circuit to get you your reading. The enzyme is “living,” which is how a diabetic test strip is able to expire in the first place. Eventually, the enzyme will “die,” or break down. And then it will not be able to attach to the glucose in your blood or pull off the sugar electrons. But when exactly do Continue reading >>