Is it Okay to Use Expired Diabetic Test Strips
As someone living with diabetes, testing your blood sugar each day is an important part of life. Most people still do this using a glucose meter and diabetic test strips. While the process is simple enough, going through a number of test strips each day can get quite expensive. In fact, some diabetic test strips can cost upwards of two bucks a piece when purchased at pharmacy or standard retailer.
So, it’s understandable that many people with diabetes are looking for ways to stretch their dollars. One of the big debates in this area revolves around the expiration of test strips. Do test strips really expire? Can I use expired test strips safely? Is big Pharma just trying to sell me more product? If you’ve ever wondered about using expired diabetic test strips, this post will provide some important and honest answers.
Before going any further, we will tell you up front that using expired test strips is not a good idea. Now, let’s get into why that’s the case.
Do blood glucose test strips really expire?
The answer to this question is absolutely yes. Diabetic test strips do expire over time. The reason why is that diabetic test strips rely on live enzymes to measure blood sugar levels. Basically, the end of each test strip it is coated with specific proteins that react with the glucose in your blood and transform it into an electrical current which then allows the glucose meter to assess the concentration of blood sugar in the sample. The thing is these enzymes are produced by living organisms. This means they can’t last forever and will eventually break down over time. As you can imagine, once this breakdown happens it can compromise the integrity of blood sugar readings. Your test strips may look like nothing more than small slivers of plastic; however, the reality is they are highly sensitive and complex medical tools.
How accurate is that test strip expiration date?
This depends on how you look at things. Clearly, reputable test strip manufacturers, such as FreeStyle, OneTouch, and TRUEMetrix, need to err on the side of caution when labeling their products. This is for your safety and to ensure that any test strips you purchase from them or their authorized distributors perform accurately. So, you can expect the expiration dates posted on these boxes of test strips to be pretty conservative. In other words, there’s no risk of these strips losing performance due to time.
From a user perspective, however, test strips that expire on a Friday will most likely not suddenly go bad by the time Saturday rolls around. You have a reasonable margin of error here. The problem is that some people believe going six months or even a year past the expiration date is perfectly fine when it comes to blood glucose test strips. We just can’t endorse this and, in fact, consider it rather reckless thinking. At the end of the day, your health and well-being are what’s most important and, as someone living with diabetes, that means making sure your blood sugar testing it is accurate. There’s no other way to effectively manage your diabetes.
Risks of using expired test strips
First and foremost, what you’re risking is compromising the integrity of your entire diabetes management and treatment program. Your diabetes physician and care team rely on accurate information to help you build the most effective and personalized diabetes management plan. Accomplishing this depends, more than anything else, on accurate and reliable blood sugar testing.
It’s true that the cost of test strips, particularly for those who need to measure blood glucose levels multiple times each day, can add up fast. But saving money doesn’t do you any good if you can’t be confident in the results your test strips provide.
Expired test strips can lead to blood sugar readings that are skewed either high or low. Some experts believe that as the enzymes on test strips begin to deteriorate it will cause a lesser conversion of blood sugar and, therefore, more often lead to an inaccurately low measurement on your blood glucose meter. Others say that as the enzymes get old it’s impossible to determine whether or not measurements will be consistently high or low. What the vast majority of experts do agree upon, however, is that expired test strips can contribute to dramatically unreliable blood glucose readings.
This is a big problem as dramatically unreliable blood glucose readings will certainly contribute to poor diabetes management, which can result in serious diabetes-related health complications, including nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, eye problems, stroke, ketoacidosis, and other conditions. Is that worth saving a few bucks?
Never purchase expired test strips.
As we’ve stated, there is a debate swirling around out there about using expired test strips. You’ll even find companies and individuals out there who are selling expired test strips. Don’t fall for it. These groups may claim to have test strips that are recently expired, or just a few months old and well within their own so-called safety range for effectiveness, but you can’t be sure of anything, and frankly, neither can they. Only purchase diabetic test strips from an authorized dealer or supplier. Never buy them secondhand. You just can’t be sure what you’re getting. You might even wind-up purchasing counterfeit test strips. Yep, they’re out there, as are test strips that are not approved for use by the FDA. So, don’t take any chances.
So, what is the diabetic test strip solution?
In no way do we want to diminish the anxiety and financial impact that purchasing test strips on a regular basis can cause. It can be expensive. But there are companies out there, like Diabetic Warehouse, that are authorized to provide new test strips from top manufacturers at substantial savings. In fact, at Diabetic Warehouse, we offer a complete online selection of diabetic test strips that are regularly priced 50% less than what you’ll find at other online suppliers, and up to 65% less than the cost of test strips at most local pharmacies and stores.
Just as important, all our diabetic test strips, whether from FreeStyle, Accu-Chek, OneTouch or any other brand, have long expiration dates. They’ve never been sold to anyone before you. Instead, they’re brand-new and in mint condition to ensure that you and your care team are working with consistently accurate blood glucose measurements. We maintain a regularly updated inventory, so we’re always ready to provide quick turnaround and fast, free delivery on every order. We invite you to explore our entire online selection of diabetic test strips today.
While the debate will certainly continue on about the use of the expired diabetic test strips with many claiming that it’s perfectly okay (likely the very same companies and individuals trying to sell you expired strips), in the end it’s entirely your decision. Please think carefully before deciding to try expired test strips and know that most medical professionals and the FDA strongly recommend against it. In fact, as with most questions regarding your diabetes health and treatment, your best course of action is to sit down and discuss things with your trusted diabetes specialist. Nobody understands your specific condition better or will give you answers you can count on more.
We hope you found this post informative and helpful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping you up to date with the latest news and tips on living with diabetes. We’re also committed to saving you up to 65% on doctor-recommended diabetic supplies. Shop our huge online selection of glucose meters, test strips and lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, and infusion sets by leading manufacturers, such as Accu-Chek, One Touch, FreeStyle, Dexcom, Easy Comfort, True Metrix and many others. Enjoy free delivery to your home or office with every order. Hear what our satisfied customers have to say and get started saving on all your diabetic supplies now at diabeticwarehouse.org.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.
I’m not sure if DW reads / replies / comments to any of the thoughts or questions, but I was thinking that running a control solution test against the expired strips, shouldn’t that validate whether of not your strips are good? E.g-my Accu-Check guide strips have a level 1 control range of 30-60. Every time i run a control solution test on new or old strips, they come in at 45 +/- a point. Isn’t that an indicator that my strips are good, and is part of the purpose of the control solution test? Which by the way, as per the manufacturer, says I “should” run on Every new vial of strips ! (I have a feeling most folks dont bother getting fresh control solution (every 90 days?) & test each new vial)