The FDA has put out a warning for diabetics against the use of secondhand test strips. Many diabetics may use secondhand test strips, as glucose test strips can be costly. Selling secondhand test strips is a legal practice in the U.S., but the FDA has set out warnings against this practice of purchasing previously owned glucose test strips.
To achieve a correct reading, glucose strips must be stored properly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know how the previous owner of the strips stored them. This can lead to false results, which can have detrimental effects on a person’s health because they would base their treatment on inaccurate results.
The FDA said, “If you buy pre-owned strips, it is hard to know whether the strips were stored properly. Test strips also could be expired. A lack of proper storage or using expired strips could put you at risk for getting incorrect results from your glucose meter. And incorrect results can put you at risk for serious health complications — and even death.”
Secondhand test strips are dangerous
Furthermore, previously owned test strips may contain blood from the first user, which can increase the risk of infection for the new user. Secondhand test strips may also have their expiry date removed or tampered with in other ways, which increases the risk of danger.
Additionally, secondhand test strips may not have been approved by the FDA to be sold in the U.S. Signs of unsafe glucose strips include labels not in English or strips that appear differently than common brands.
The FDA recommends purchasing new test strips that are specifically designed for your glucose meter. “Talk to your health care provider if you are not sure where to buy test strips for your glucose meter or if you cannot afford to buy the test strips recommended for use with your meter.”
If you’re unsure if you are using your strips properly, sit down with your doctor or nurse and have them instruct you on proper use to achieve the most accurate reading.
Lastly, always make sure you disinfect your meter based on the recommendations by the company who manufactured the device.