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January 22, 2007

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Question from Houston, Texas, USA:

How long after the expiration date is it safe to used glucose test strips that have been stored properly (proper temperature, no sunlight, etc.)?

Answer:

Thank you for asking this question. Please do not use blood glucose test strips after their expiration date as you may get inaccurate results. Diabetes care decisions, such as how much food or insulin to take, are made based on the blood glucose reading, so why take a chance? Instead, it is better to be safe and follow the instructions exactly. As you mentioned, it is also important to consider how you store the strips, such as always keeping the cover on if they come in a vial and not storing them at high temperatures. Always make sure the skin is clean and dry before obtaining the drop of blood. Make sure you have the correct code on the meter to match that particular lot of strips (if your meter requires coding) and have an adequate sized drop of blood that is placed correctly on the strip. Take a look at the paper insert that comes with the strips and the packaging for complete instructions for your particular brand of meter and strips.

LM