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Who Buys Expired Diabetic Test Strips

One of the more common ways of monitoring blood glucose levels is using diabetes test strips. These are small disposable strips made of plastic that pack a lot of technology into a small space. They may look insignificant but play in fact a crucial role in good diabetes care for millions around the world.

who buys expired diabetic test strips

What about the lifespan of these blood glucose test strips? For years, it has been debated whether people with diabetes can safely use expired test strips. Some claim that the test strips can be used for a short period of time beyond their expiration date if the test strips have been stored properly and any damage to the strips has been avoided. However, this could lead to an inaccurate reading of the blood glucose.

Accuracy is key when testing your blood sugar. Before considering using expired test strips, it is vital to ask yourself a few questions about their potential effectiveness. This includes how they have been stored, or have they been exposed to dampness or high humidity levels. It is also crucial to take into account how long after the expiration date they can be safely used, and which are the potential risks of using expired test strips.

One of the reasons why most diabetic patients do not hesitate to use expired test strips is the belief that they always give a lower value than your actual blood sugar reading. However, this is a misconception. Patients believe that they just need to add a few numbers to the reading provided by the glucometer and that would be the correct reading they would have got if they had used the un-expired strips.

And in case, the reading shows a higher value, they perceive it as their blood sugar level is too high for which they need to seek medical advice for the correction of dosages or anti-diabetic drugs. This is why; they continue to use the test strips that are expired.

In short, the expired test strips can work in an unpredictable manner. Hence, it is impossible to know your correct blood sugar levels by adding or subtracting a few numbers to the reading you get using the expired strips.

This suggests that expired glucose test strips can give a high as well as a low reading and hence, should not be used. The chances that it will give you a correct reading is too less making it a highly unreliable way to monitor your diabetes control.

Moreover, researchers from the U.S. CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have found that the old glucose test strips can also sometimes give inaccurate readings, even when their date of expiration is not over.

So, there is also a mild risk of getting an inaccurate result when the strips are nearing their expiry dates. Most glucometers do not reject the strips that are nearing expiration dates. Hence, it is advisable to check the expiry date of the glucose test strip before use and discard them once their expiry date is near or over.

The use of strips that have expired or are near the expiration date can give a wrong reading, believing which could prevent you from seeking the right treatment for ensuring optimum control over diabetes.

Hence, it is advisable to discard the lancets once their expiry date is over. This is specifically important for diabetic patients as the rise in blood sugar levels can make them vulnerable to develop infections easily. So, the use of expired unsterile lancets may facilitate the entry of infectious organisms into their body putting them at risk of infections. This marks the need to check the expiry date of the lancets before use.

Healthcare professionals also caution against the tendency of diabetic patients to use expired lancets or test strips as a cost-saving measure. The FDA has warned that saving money by using expired or pre-owned lancets and strips may be a highly unsafe practice in the short run as well as the long run.

So, the complications arising due to the infections or inaccurate readings can only increase the expenses the patients have to bear due to the additional treatments and hospitalization involved to correct them. This is why; it is strictly advisable to avoid using expired lancets and test strips not just to avoid complications but also to save unnecessary healthcare expenditure.

For example; inaccurate readings provided by the use of expired or compromised blood sugar testing strips might trigger a number of health issues like hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia may trigger a life-threatening condition called diabetic coma or ketoacidosis that develops when the body does not have enough insulin. In these cases, the body is not able to break down or use glucose efficiently for fuel causing the ketone bodies to build up in the blood leading to a medical emergency.

This means diabetic patients should avoid squeezing the finger too tightly as this can dilute the sample of blood with the tissue fluid called plasma and thus, increase the chances of a wrong reading or even hemolysis. The squeezing should be mild enough to just let a drop of blood ooze out onto the test strip.

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.

Test strip brands usually specify a Use By date. The FDA recommends that strips not be used after that date to ensure accurate results. Instructions for care and storage of test strips are provided through printed inserts or on the box itself.

Use of test strips exposed to moisture, heat, and humidity may give false results. Any temperatures outside of the recommended range provided by the manufacturer may also damage test strips and interfere with accuracy.

Why risk buying expired test strips? Cost. Test strips are expensive. According to a recent New York Times article[1], 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.

Saving money is always very important, but the FDA warns that saving money on pre-owned or expired strips may not be a safe practice in the long run. The agency recently issued a press release warning against previously owned testing strips. Doing so carries potentially increased risk of serious injury (or even death) to patients relying on accuracy of such tests to monitor and treat their diabetes.

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.

Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit

Last year, I had to dispose of 4 vials of expired test strips (5-6 months). It was difficult to just throw them away, like throwing money down the trash, but after testing a few strips from each vial, the readings were significantly off.

I can not believe how many sellers are listing and selling "expired" Diabetic Test Strips with some expiring as far back as 2014, along with unsealed boxes and open containers. I have been working with people that are living with diabetes for over 12 years and it is so dangerous, especially people that are administering insulin and need complete accuracy with their test results. I can not understand the complete disregard from other sellers for their fellow human being in order to make a buck and the lack of monitoring from ebay. I understand that there are thousands of listings being entered everyday but ebay can at least create a mandatory field that a seller has to fill in with the expiration dates, and if the dates have expired then the listing can not be created. I know sellers will still find a way around this but at least it will give the diabetic community some more added protection. In a listing where it shows "Condition" (New: A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item), ebay should add "unexpired" as well which would also cover any other health, beauty or food products.

The expiration date on the test strips is part of the Item specifics, and many (if not most) listings have the expiration date in the title, as well. So it seems unlikely that people are unintentionally buying expired test strips.

So, even though the accuracy of the strips declines with age, maybe some people feel they're still better off using them than not testing at all. As a professional in the field, you can tell me: Are they right or wrong in thinking that?

I agree if a consumer intentionally chooses to purchase expired strips that is absolutely their choice but there are multiple listings that the expiration date is not listed in the title. I have also seen strips just this morning being sold that had expired as far back as 2014 and surprisingly enough the price is not a whole lot different then strips that have a short date and are due to expire in a month or two. You are also dealing with elderly people, non english speaking customers and there are also many diabetics who have serious vision issues and may not realize that the strips they purchased have already expired. It is unfortunate that strips are so expensive and many people need to resort to this due to poor or no health insurance but that is a whole other discussion. I know Amazon is very strict in maintaining and enforcing policy on any products that contain expiration dates; although ebay does have a policy that prohibits the sale of expired products they do very little to enforce it. In a perfect world consumers should be able to shop with confidence but unfortunately that is not the world we are currently living in. 041b061a72


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