Costs And Where To Buy
You can find the FreeStyle Lite meters and test strips in most pharmacies and drug stores, both in person and online.
The basic FreeStyle Lite meter is generally priced around $26 to $40 and the FreeStyle Freedom Lite meter runs about $20 to $26.
Test strips are packaged in vials of 50, and there are options to buy a box of multiple vials of strips.
Cash prices vary depending on where youre shopping, from $30 on to nearly $100 at large retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.
As always, its best to check with your particular insurance plan to determine how many test strips per day they cover and whether this brand is included in their preferred network.
How Accurate Are The Test Strips
Even though the manufacturers strive to be as accurate as possible, there is always a margin of error. According to the Food and Drug Administration Department regulations for all blood glucose test glucometer:
- For result at or above 75 mg/dl , 95% of the meter test outcomes must be within ±20% of the actual blood glucose level. For example, if your meter reads 100, your actual glucose level can actually be anywhere between 80 to 120.
- For results below 75 mg/dl: 95% of the test results must be within plus or minus 15 points of the actual blood glucose level. So a reading of 70 only gives an indication that your actual glucose level is anywhere between 55 to 85.
This is the unfortunate trade-off for having equipment that is both small and easy to use. Given that there is a margin of error, almost all glucometers are close to being equally accurate. In addition, there are other factors that may play a role in the accuracy of test strips:
A list of other possible errors issued by FDA that may affect the glucometer reading:
Option : 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.
Glucose test strips
Read the specifics for donating and find mailing instructions here. If you or someone you know need help paying for diabetes supplies, you can apply for assistance through CR3 Diabetes.
SafeNetRx collects medical supplies and redistributes them to people in need living in Iowa. The organization currently only accepts sealed and unexpired lancets, syringes, needles, and glucose test trips. To donate or learn more, click here.
Thank you for taking the time to donate your old diabetes supplies to those who need it. At diaTribe we are grateful each day for the strength and generosity of the diabetes community. Given the immense need, were hopeful that someday soon there may be easier and more effective ways to also donate unused diabetes medications.
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How To Check The Accuracy Of A Glucose Meter
While it is tempting to use the results of a control solution test to find out if your meter is reading high or low and by how much, the properties that make blood and control solution different prevent this from being a reliable way to check the accuracy of a glucose meter. Instead, it gives you an indication as to whether your meter and test strips are working properly. Once a control solution test confirms that your monitoring system is functioning correctly, other causes for suspicious readings can be considered.
The accuracy of blood glucose meter readings can be affected by many factors unrelated to the meters functionality, such as environmental conditions, altitude, testing practices, and damaged or expired test strips. Something as simple as testing with unwashed hands or from an insufficient blood drop can throw off your entire test. Therefore, identifying and controlling any interfering factors can be a simple step to improving the accuracy of your results.
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 whats 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 does this break down happen, you may be wondering. And more importantly, you still want the most important question answered:
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Can You Make Your Own Test Strip
Yet another out of the box question. Currently, many people have tried to make their own test strip and glucometer and have shared their failure online. Although it is currently not an option, it seems like it is possible to print your own low-cost glucose test strips at home in the near future. A startup company named Accessible Diagnostics has developed a new type of test strip that can be made out of commonly available materials and will cost only pennies compared to the current test strips. Instead of buying test strips, you will only need to buy their ink cartridges which consists of two enzyme ink cartridges and one print dye cartridge. These cartridges can be used on any inkjet printers. During the printing process, the cartridges will spray out enzymes that coat the piece of paper to create glucose strips. The cost will come down to approximately five cents per strip. to read more on this. You can also watch this video to learn more.
Recently Google has teamed up with a European drug company called Novartis to develop contact lens that can measure your glucose levels. The latest update is that Google has already secured a patent on the technology as of March 2015. So we will be expecting to see the product for sale on market in the near future. If you would like to read more information on the project, you can click on this link.
All About Freestyle Lite Glucose Meters And Test Strips
One of the best-known brands in diabetes gear is FreeStyle, made by Abbott Diabetes Care. Traditional fingerstick glucose meters and test strips have been their bread and butter for over 2 decades, long before the company launched its innovative FreeStyle Libre flash continuous glucose monitor in the United States in 2017.
Abbotts FreeStyle Lite fingerstick glucose meters and FreeStyle Lite test strips have been available in the United States for many years, recognizable by the little butterfly displayed on the boxes and each test strip.
Read on for our guide to FreeStyle Lite products in the United States, including key features, pros and cons, accuracy, user feedback, and where to buy.
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Blood Glucose Test Strips
The Ontario Drug Benefit Program provides coverage for blood glucose test strips based on your current treatment method, and align with guidelines published by the Canadian Diabetes Association.
This chart shows how the reimbursement limits for test strips are determined:
|Maximum number of test strips per year|
|Patients managing diabetes with insulin||3,000|
|Patients managing diabetes with anti-diabetes medication with higher risk of causing hypoglycemia*||400|
|Patients managing diabetes using anti-diabetes medication with lower risk of causing hypoglycemia*||200|
|Patients managing diabetes through diet/lifestyle therapy only||200|
*low blood sugar
For information on how to properly manage your blood glucose levels with test strips, please watch our video located in the “Stand Up To Diabetes” area of our website or speak with your health care provider.
Using Test Strips That Are Too Old
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that old test strips give inaccurate readings, particularly if they are beyond their expiration date. While some meters will reject expired strips, not all of them will. And none of them will reject strips that are nearing their expiration dates, and that too, the CDC researchers told me, can give us inaccurate test results.
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The Problem With Generic Test Strips
In concept, generic blood glucose test strips sound like a great idea. Made by 3rd party manufacturers , they often work with a variety of different meters, and tend to be much less expensive than their counterparts. Given that big-name test strips can cost $1 to $1.50 a pop, it makes sense that people with diabetes would be eager for a cheaper solution. But theres a problem: those cost savings are only relevant if the generic test strips are accurate. If theyre not accurate, then you may miscalculate your insulin dose. And if you miscalculate your insulin dose, you could die. Personally, I cant wrap my head around the fact that there is currently no system in place to ensure that test strips that have been cleared by the FDA for sale continue to meet those accuracy standards after theyre on the market. I also cant get over the fact that Medicare continues to insist that there have been no negative effects of its recently implemented competitive bidding program for mail-order diabetes supplies despite evidence clearly indicating that the program is restricting peoples access to blood glucose testing supplies, and pushing them often against their will toward problematic generic meters and strips. But in the rare moContinue reading > >
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, its 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 youve 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, lets get into why thats the case.
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Is It Legal To Resell Diabetic Test Strips
Theres no law against buying and selling diabetes test strips on the open market. As a result, a growing gray market has emerged, where companies buy strips from PWDs and other sources and resell them. Go online and youll find more than a few outfits doing this, with names like TestStripSearch.com, QuickCash4TestStrips.com, and Stripsupply.com.
Weve checked into the deals available at some of these companies and are skeptical. As explained in our earlier article on Saving Money on Diabetes Medications and Supplies, the savings here dont appear to be that great, and given the fact that the quality control in these outfits is uncertain, we urge caution. Some sellers may try to peddle expired goods, for example.
Partly in response to this gray market, the state of California for one has begun to regulate the supply chain of diabetes products, including glucose test strips, to prevent fraud and ensure patient safety.
The FDA issued to consumers about the safety of pre-owned or unauthorized test strips in April 2019, although the agency noted that it was not aware of any deaths or serious injuries from these strips.
In other words, buyer beware.
How Test Strips Work
Diabetes test strips pack a lot of technology into a small space. The plastic strips are coated with a very thin layer of gold. The gold is cut into a pattern that becomes the stripâs circuit.
One end of the strip also has a coating of chemicals. They soak up your blood like a sponge and turn the glucose into electricity.
An electrical signal travels from the strip to the meter. The number you see on the meter is the speed of the electrical current. More blood sugar means a stronger signal. A stronger signal means a higher number on your blood glucose meter.
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Can I Use Expired Sugar Strips
As users currently do with most other types of blood glucose test strips on the market, they can simply check the expiration date clearly printed on their vial of the Accu-Chek Active test strips. After this date, any remaining test strips should be discarded and patients should use a new vial of test strips.
Selling Your Glucose Test Strips A Good Idea
You probably have driven past a sign along the street or that says Sell Your Test Strips For Quick Cash. We know that the price may be tempting, but we strongly advise you from taking this risk as you will be committing a crime and may face serious consequences. According to the FDA regulations, it is not technically illegal to resell over-the-counter test strips unless they are expired.
However, if an individual is receiving excess medical supplies under private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid coverage, and this individual does not notify the supplier or the medical coverage agencies, he or she is committing an illegal act in health care fraud.
If found guilty, not only will you serve jail time, you will also have to pay back all the incurred expense on these spare supplies as well as be denied for any type of insurance coverage for the rest of your life. At the same time, if you are reselling these spare supplies without reporting the profit on your tax, you are committing a criminal act of tax-evasion. If found guilty, you will be expected to pay back all the tax money you owe the government.
To give you an idea, in 2007, Medicare paid $1.2 billion for test strips and lancets. Based on the research investigation by the Office of Inspector General, about $271 million was for high utilization claims. Most of that specific amount of money$207 millionwas paid without proper documentation.
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What Are Glucose Test Strips Used For
Lets start with the basics: Blood glucose meters and the test strips they require allow you to measure and monitor blood sugar levels at home and on the road. First developed in 1965 and used in doctors offices, meters and test strips became available at home in 1980.
To take a blood sugar reading, insert the strip into the meter and apply a drop of blood after using the needle to poke your finger. Most meters produce a reading within seconds. The meter can store that data for later review by you and your doctor.
Meters and strips are now an essential part of diabetes management for most folks with diabetes. That includes more than 30% of people with type 1 diabetes who now use CGMs, yet still do fingerstick tests to calibrate their monitors.
However, backup fingerstick tests are not required by the Food and Drug Administration with some of the newer CGM systems, including:
How To Properly Use Glucose Test Strips
It is important to follow the manufacturers instructions for using test strips to ensure accurate readings.
The first step in using glucose test strips correctly is ensuring you have the correct corresponding glucometer. Unfortunately, test strips are not universal with glucometers. You can verify that you are purchasing the right glucometer and test strips by consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
Next, you can follow these steps to ensure you are properly using glucose test strips:
- Wash and dry your hands .
- Prepare a test strip by turning on your glucometer and inserting the strip.
- Choose which spot you will use for the fingerstick .
- Prepare your lancing device properly and prick your finger to get a drop of blood. You may need to squeeze or milk your finger to get enough blood.
- Place and hold the drop of blood to the correct end of the glucose test strip until enough blood has been absorbed by the strip to initiate the test. .
- Read the result of the blood glucose test and take any necessary action.
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Where To Buy Control Solution For A Glucose Meter
Typically, control solution for a glucometer is available from the manufacturer of your meter and test strips, and most private insurance companies or Medicare will cover the cost.
Check the manufacturers website for details on where to purchase control solution. You can also check with your local pharmacy to see if they have available stock of the control solution that is compatible with your glucose meter. If none is in stock, you can request it to be ordered through your pharmacy.