Don’t use pre-owned test strips


It is common for people with diabetes to use a blood glucose meter to monitor their blood sugar (glucose) level on a daily basis. The meters are designed to analyze a small amount of blood from a fingerstick that is put on a test strip and inserted into the machine. Usually, in less than a minute, the blood sugar level is reported.


Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) learned that pre-owned or secondhand test strips were being sold to consumers. These were often advertised in local newspapers or online as “cheap test strips.” While it is legal for people to sell their unused test strips, the FDA does not recommend this practice and is warning consumers not to purchase pre-owned test strips. They may give you incorrect results, or they may not be safe to use for the following reasons:

• They may not have been stored safely.
• They may be expired, or the expiration date may have been changed.
• They may not have been approved for sale in the United States (the instructions are not in English).
• They may have small amounts of blood on them from the other person if they were opened.

Here’s what you can do: Talk to your healthcare provider if you are not sure where to buy test strips for your meter or if you cannot afford to buy the test strips. Some available programs will provide you with test strips and even a meter at no cost. Buy only unopened vials of test strips from a reputable retailer that have not been pre-owned.

Created on August 10, 2017

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