Why Would You Buy Expired Test Strips In The First Place
Why risk buying expired test strips? Cost. Test strips are expensive. According to a recent New York Times article, insurance coverage changes often, leaving a patient with little choice other than to purchase newer monitors and their associated and often more expensive testing strips. When patients have to switch, they are often left with unused strips.
Seniors on fixed incomes may find selling their unused strips lucrative to making ends meet. Unfortunately, some people with diabetes reduce the number of times they test themselves to save money on strips. A diabetic selling his or her test strips for extra cash puts their own health at risk by not testing themselves as often as they should.
Keep Out Of Regular Trash And Recycling Bins
Whether youre living alone or with others, never throw your insulin needles, syringes, test strips or other materials into the regular trash. All of these items pose a potential risk to anyone who accidentally comes in contact with it. Especially when being pricked or exposed to blood. In addition, never place sharps into your recycling bins, even if they have caps. Caps can easily fall off, endangering anyone who comes in contact with the receptacle.
Expiration Of Test Strips
For many patients who have a limited budget to juggle, two question that always come to mind is do test strips go bad and whether they can use test strips that have been expired. For the first question, test strips are only effective if the enzymes are active. Once you open a bottle of test strips, you are allowing the test strips to come in contact with humidity and all the chemicals in the atmosphere, and thus the degradation speeds up. Assuming that the test strip bottle is closed tightly after each use and the bottle has been stored according to the manufacturers directions, you can expect your test strip to remain effective for a good while. Just to give you some idea how long test strips will last, we have compiled a short list of some common test strip brands and compared their effective duration:
Assuming that the test strip bottle is closed tightly after each use and the bottle has been stored according to the manufacturers directions, you can expect your test strip to remain effective for a good while. Just to give you some idea how long test strips will last, we have compiled a short list of some common test strip brands and compared their effective duration:
|Good for 90 days after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, whichever comes first.|
|Nipro Diagnostics®||Good for 120 days after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, whichever comes first.|
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Can You Use Expired Diabetes Test Strips
Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is an essential part of good diabetes care. Keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels helps you make decisions, in collaboration with your healthcare team, about nutrition, physical activities, and when to take your medications. These are all important decisions that can delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, blindness, and amputation.
In previous blogs we covered various methods to monitor glucose levels, including continuous glucose monitoring devices but also emerging technologies like using saliva as a pain-free and cheaper alternative to blood for monitoring diabetes, measuring glucose in your tears and using a smart-patch.
Want To Donate Your Unused Diabetes Supplies
If youve got unused diabetes supplies that you no longer need, dont throw them away! Here are several easy ways that you can donate your supplies to others.
If youve recently switched to a new diabetes medication or device, you may have leftover diabetes supplies that you wont need. It might feel like such a waste to throw away things like insulin vials, needles, and test strips, especially when there are many people in the world who cannot afford the diabetes devices and medication that they need to live healthy lives. The good news is that there are several ways to donate your supplies so that people who do need these items can receive them.
Its important to know that your supplies should be unused and unopened most donations will not be accepted if the supplies are no longer sealed, or if they have already expired.
Option 1: Contact your healthcare office
There is a chance that your care team collects unused diabetes supplies to provide to other people with diabetes. You can call and ask them about whether they are interested in your donation.
Option 2: Contact local diabetes advocacy organizations
Diabetes education centers or local branches of advocacy organizations may collect diabetes supplies themselves or be able to refer you to other donation sites.
- Find a local JDRF chapter
Option 3: Mail your supplies to a national organization
Insulin for Life accepts the following supplies donations . The organization does not accept pump supplies.
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How To Avoid Counterfeit Blood Glucose Test Strips
Until recently, counterfeit blood glucose test strips is a rare occurrence in the United States. However, the brand LifeScan has known to have the most frequent counterfeit issues. In the past, they have announced that the counterfeit test strips has shown unreliable performance that includes highly inaccurate test resultsand it is unknown how counterfeit test strips that may be in the marketplace will perform. As of 2016, there has not been any counterfeit issues reported by LifeScan or the United States government. However, just to be safe, always check your test strips for signs of counterfeits.
- Tamper MRP Label
All genuine test strip packaging have a Tamper Evident MRP Label. Once peeled off, it would reveal the words OPEN. If the label does not say OPEN, the pack is counterfeit.
- Scratch Label
All genuine test strips packaging have a scratch label. When you scratch off the layer, it would reveal a unique number which can be verified by calling the manufacturer customer service.
If you suspect that you have a counterfeit test strips or have any concern with the test strip, dont hesitate to call the manufacturer customer service for assistance.
Several other companies are also developing technologies that can automatically send blood glucose readings from a meter to insurers. In doing so, companies can truly see if the patient is getting the strips for personal use or whether they are committing fraudulent claims.
When You Donate Test Strips We Can Help More People
When you donate test strips we get them to people in need right away at no cost to them. Donated test strips may also be used at screening fairs to help determine if someone has diabetes. We do screening fairs once a year and also provide a service where people can come to our office for a free glucose test if they think they may have diabetes. You can also donate expired test strips. Dont worry, we put them to good use too. The expired test strips you donate will be given to the Pet Diabetes Program or the Diabetes Art Center. These are wonderful programs that help support both humans and animals with diabetes.
Donate Test Strips to The Pet Diabetes Program if they have been expired less than 1 year
It is not only people that are affected by diabetes, but animals can get diabetes too. Treating diabetes in an animal is just as costly as treating it in a human. Since most pets do not have health insurance their owners must pay out of pocket for their testing supplies and medication. Many owners do not test their pets regularly because of the costs associated with it. This leads to poor control and increases the risk of diabetic complications.
The Diabetes Art Center gets expired test strips that have been expired for more than 1 year
All proceeds from the auctions go to help the uninsured or underinsured diabetics pay for their medications and diabetes testing supplies. This is a great way to recycle those expired test strips and help out a diabetic in need.
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Do Expired Test Strips Read High Or Low
People with diabetes must maintain blood glucose levels within acceptable ranges to avoid health issues. Whether you have Type I or Type II diabetes, regular blood sugar testing is essential to avoiding higher or lower than normal glucose levels.
Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may need to check your blood glucose levels anywhere from two to ten times a day. Your doctor makes recommendations based on the type of diabetes and how well your diabetes is controlled.
Self-testing with diabetic test strips is the best way to monitor yourself, but testing strips are expensive and range in costs from $0.50 per strip to over $1.00 per strip, sometimes more depending on manufacturer and number of strips in a box. Cost outlay for many diabetics may reach thousands of dollars a year for just their testing strips, even for those with health insurance coverage.
Is it safe to use expired test strips? Before you do, ask yourself a few questions about their potential effectiveness. For example:
- How have they been stored? Have they been stuffed in the glove box of a hot car all summer? Exposed to dampness or high humidity levels?
- How long after the expiration date can you safely use them?
- What are the risks of using expired test strips?
Accuracy is key when testing your blood sugar. Before considering expired test strips, know the facts.
How Accurate Are Glucose Test Strips
This has been a controversial issue over the years because some brands of meters and strips have been shown to be more accurate than others. Theres also concern about the accuracy of models that have been out on the market for many years, so have not been tested for accuracy since their original approval by the FDA.
The California-based nonprofit Diabetes Technology Society recently tested 18 popular blood glucose meters and compared their results to those of outside laboratories that tested the same blood specimens.
The DTS gold standard is that a meter and its test strips should yield BG readings within 15 percent or 15 mg/dL of the laboratory values at least 95 percent of the time. In several studies, only six brands passed that test for accuracy:
- Contour Next from Bayer 100 percent
- Accu-Chek Aviva Plus from Roche 98 percent
- Walmart ReliOn Confirm from Arkray 97 percent
- CVS/pharmacy Advanced from Agamatrix 97 percent
- FreeStyle Lite from Abbott 96 percent
- Accu-Chek SmartView from Roche 95 percent
So, theres a whole bunch of test strips and meters out there that are less accurate than they should be. The least accurate were:
- Solus V2 from BioSense Medical 76 percent
- Advocate Redi-Code+ from Diabetic Supply of Suncoast 76 percent
- Gmate Smart from Philosys 71 percent
Still, the accuracy of results, along with ease of use and price of both the meter and strips, should factor into your decision when choosing a glucose meter, according to experts in the DTS
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Why Are The Expiration Dates When They Are
Some wonder if the expiration dates are the companys way of ripping them off. Are they simply trying to make more money by ensuring that people throw away their strips before they actually need to? While companies are indeed a business, there could be more to it than that. Taking it from the words of LifeScan, part of the company that makes OneTouch strips:
It is not only in the best interest of the patient to have the longest possible product shelf life, but it also benefits the distributors of the product and the manufacturer of the test strips as well. Legally, the manufacturer must ensure the product performs as claimed in the labeling.
What this basically means is that companies like this are legally obligated to err on the side of caution. If they move their expiration dates back, all it would take is one faulty test strip to land them in trouble. By making the expiration date perhaps a bit earlier than it necessarily needs to be, theyre protecting themselves from a lawsuit. Companies have a lot of reasons to make the expiration date come so soon. Not all of them are necessarily selfish. They just want to make sure that they can stand behind their product, especially since its so important.
So now that weve established all that, its time to answer:
Everything You Need To Know About Diabetes Test Strips
Blood glucose test strips play a crucial role in helping you to monitor your daily blood glucose level and giving your doctor the data to adjust your medication to control your diabetes symptoms. Without the help from these little disposable strips, life with diabetes can become even more chaotic than ever.
But what exactly are these thin little plastic slip and why are they so expensive? Are there any alternative method I can use? Where can I get the best deal on these test strips? This article will answer many of your questions and concerns regarding these blood glucose test strips:
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How Does The New Test Strip Work
We understand that the glucose test strips works by using the glucose oxidase enzyme that converts glucose in your blood sample into an electrical current. But how exactly does such tiny piece of plastic achieve this reaction? In order to answer this question, we must first look at the construction of the test strips.
Even though so many different brands of blood glucose test strips and meters present on the market each has its own technology and design, they all fundamentally function the same way. As shown in the diagram, a test strip is actually composed of several layers that each serves its own function. Essentially, the top layer serves as a mini sponge to soak up your blood sample.
The middle layers serve as a filter to channel the blood sample to the reaction center. The next layer includes three basic parts: the enzyme that reacts with the blood glucose, a mediator chemical that speeds the electrons along the strips circuit so that an accurate reading can occur before the reaction dissipates, and a concoction of chemicals that stabilize and preserves the enzyme and mediator chemicals. At the bottom sits the gold and palladium coated circuit that transfer the reaction electrons to the meter for analysis.
Can I Use Diabetes Test Strips That Are Past Their Expiry Date
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Most sugar test strips tend to be expensive, ranging all the way to over $2 per piece. When you consider that most strips come in a pack of 50, thats a sizeable amount you need to shell out. Most people try to extract every piece of value they can from their test strips. As a result, you may find yourself frustrated if the strips go beyond the expiration date without you having utilized them. Many people throw them in the garbage because they believe that there is no further use to them. However, some people prefer to keep using them or even sell test strips for cash. There are ardent supporters on both sides of the issue. So, what do the experts say?
Before we see that, lets take a look at how the inner workings of these test strips
Firstly, you must understand how these strips work. To simplify it, it works something like this there is a component that moves the blood into a window present on the blood strip. Glucose strips have a mediator and an enzyme as well. The latter gets attached to the sugar in the blood and then attracts sugar electrons. The strips mediator passes it through its circuit for giving you a reading.
This enzyme, however, is a biological substance. As a result, it will break down one day. And when that happens, it wont be capable of pulling sugar electrons from the blood. However, you might be wondering about the exact point at which this breakdown takes place.
Can Diabetic Test Strips Expire?
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Proper Hazardous Waste And Sharps Disposal
Proper disposal is being considerate of others. Leaving hazardous medical waste around is risky for anyone, particularly children who may not be aware of the risks and safety hazards. Hazardous waste is not something you should be re-using. Make sure to dispose of per instructions and label!
Always dispose of medical waste after single-use.
Do not clip used needles or alter it as this is prone to an entirely new set of risks. Safe needle disposal is just disposing of the entire needle, preferably with the cap on. The same idea goes for lancets–do not try to alter the lancet for re-use.
To properly dispose of your used lancets and needles, you need a robust container that can be completely sealed and accurately labeled–you can also use this same container to dispose of your test strips as well, but be sure to follow any disposal instructions that are specific to your test strips.
Containers that are sufficient for sharps and hazardous waste disposal are heavy plastic containers like detergent bottles or metal or plastic boxes with a fastening sealing mechanism. You can also find containers specifically made for this type of disposal at stores and pharmacies. Never use glass or a clear plastic bottle like a water bottle or drink bottle, and always seal containers with heavy duct tape to ensure they stay safely closed.
Label the container USED SHARPS: DO NOT RECYCLE. Keep the container out of the reach of children or other vulnerable populations.