Is It OK To Use Expired Diabetic Test Strips?

Monitoring of blood glucose levels should be done frequently for those who have diabetes because it is an essential aspect of your lifestyle. This is usually accomplished through diabetic test strips and a glucose meter. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels allows you to make critical decisions that can slow or prevent diabetic complications including amputation, vision deterioration, and cardiac arrest.

While the process seems to be simple, the cost of those supplies, particularly when acquired from a pharmacy or retailer, can be extremely high. As a result, many diabetics are looking for methods to save money, and one way they do it is by using expired test strips.

Use of Diabetic Test Strips

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you must check your blood sugar levels and assess your body’s current state regularly. The results that you gain from using diabetic test strips inform you if you need to make any changes to your medications, diet, and physical activities.

Why Test Strips Expire?

Diabetic test strips make use of living enzymes included in the product to provide accurate readings. Do you realize, however, that they are incredibly intricate medical equipment that is sensitive to their surroundings? The temperature has a strong influence on these enzymes, which are produced by living organisms. While you should take all required precautions to store your test strips properly, the enzyme will still mature and cause your findings to be less effective.

Reason Why People Are Using Expired Strips

There is a common misconception that expired strips would always give you a lower number than your actual blood sugar level. People seem to believe that by simply adding a couple of numbers, they will obtain genuine readings. What they don't realize is that expired diabetic test strips might behave unpredictably. This means that if you add or remove numbers from the results of your expired test strips, it will be impossible to tell what your readings are. This is an extremely unreliable way of diabetes management that you should not adopt. 

Should Expired Test Strips Be Used?

To save money, many people continue to use test strips that have passed their expiration date. This is extremely dangerous and should not be encouraged. By doing so, you jeopardize the integrity of your diabetes management and treatment. To improve your health, your doctor and caregivers require reliable information to help you gain the most of out your diabetes management strategy. It can result in health issues such as vision problems, ketoacidosis, nerve damage, and even stroke. Is it worth risking yourself just to save just a couple of extra dollars?

Using expired diabetic test strips is simply not worth the risk. While test strips can be costly, there are high-quality alternatives that are reasonably priced. We understand your concerns, which is why we offer the OKRA Pro Starter Kit Bundle, which includes all of the tools you need at a lower price than other blood sugar test kits available on the market. Furthermore, the OKRA Care diabetic test refill kit eliminates the need to replace expired test strips.

One of the common ways diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels is by using glucose test strips. Here’s a simple guide to using these test strips? Step 1: Place a strip in the blood glucose meter and use the needle of the meter, the lancet, to prick your fingertip. Step 2: Squeeze a small drop of blood on the strip. The chemical glucose oxidase on the strip will react with the glucose in the blood to produce gluconic acid and change the glucose into electricity. Step 3: The test strip has electric terminals to let the meter read your glucose levels. The value that appears on the meter reflects the electric current’s speed; a higher value means that there is more blood sugar.

So, you may ask when test strips expire after the vial has been opened. Normally, the test strips can be used for 3 to 6 months after opening. You should also check the information leaflet provided by the manufacturer, as different brands may have their own instructions.

Additionally, the expiration of test strips depends on the way they are stored. If the test strip vial has been opened, the strips need to be discarded 6 months after opening or by the date stated on the label, whichever comes earlier. If the test strip vial has not been opened, the strips expire by the date of expiry stated on the label.

Most doctors tell their patients that the test strips should be used before the date of expiry. The Food and Drug Administration explicitly warns against using glucose test strips that are expired, as they might lead to erroneous results.

Generally, expiration dates are not a definite way of determining if the product is truly expired or can still provide accurate test results. For instance, testing a day before the scheduled expiration date does not guarantee it will be accurate. Likewise, just because you test exactly a day after the expiration date does not mean it will be inaccurate either. Anecdotal evidence gathered has suggested that whether the strip is a day expired, or a month expired, it is very difficult to make a clear-cut differentiation in test readings.

Therein lies the debate, since there is no significant difference between the test readings. Are you bound to get an inaccurate reading if you use expired glucose test strips? Typically, studies have proven that the answer is no but you do increase the likelihood of obtaining an inaccurate or faulty reading. This is because the enzymes present on the edge of the glucose test strip wear down over time and become less effective. For example, an expired glucose test strip of two years in comparison to one that is expired for a week is significantly more likely in providing a less than ideal result.

Practically, your expired test strips can be used as a last resort if they are stored properly and not damaged, but only for a small period of time after the expiration date. However, you have to be prepared for an inaccurate reading and it could affect how you manage your diabetes based on the test result.

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