Do You Test Your Test Strips Before Using Them?

you know that gooey blue liquid that you are supposed to use to see if your test strips are working as expected to? the "control" solution?

does anyone actually do this every time they open up a new box of strips??

just curious. i must admit that i am terribly guilty; i doubt i have done this more than 10 times in over 25 yrs.

No. I don't think I've done it more than a couple of times.

When I first got a meter, I did test every new bottle...until I ran out of test solution and discovered how expensive it is and that it isn't covered by insurance. Since then, I've tested maybe 10 times in the past 15 years.


I agree, close to 30 years and I've ONLY used the stuff like once or twice. Mostly out of curiosity and playing around when I got a new meter and the sample came with it. I think its just another money making market big pharm has found to make people think they NEED to do this.




The ranges for control solution are so huge that IMO a control solution test really doesn’t give much information on the accuracy of a meter.

What I do try to do is when I get a test with an unexpected result is to test a second time before I do a correction bolus or eat a snack. Although I am generally happy with my meters, I do occasionally get totally rogue results.

I agree-- the control range is huge-- so your strips would have to be totally shot for them to test out of range. I've done it a few times, and became convinced it is a waste of time. Side note-- I was fishing the icy waters of Kachemak Bay, Alaska the other day-- my strips were very cold-- I tested with them and got on unexpectedly high result, very out of my usual patter. (I tested repeatedly while strips were cold and all were high) as soon as they warmed up, they tested normal again-- anyone else notice this?

Nope. A waste of strips.

I think the control solution they provide you with a meter is "deception." The control solution is to check if the meter has totally failed, not to calibrate. I can't remember the last time I used the control solution. If I get a weird test, I repeat it with more controlled conditions and if again it is weird, I try with another meter and a different test strip batch. If that all suggests the meters is whacked, what is the point of the control solution I already know the meter failed.

And meters are only good for +/- 20%. If you look at the allowable range on the vial, it is often 15-20%. My onetouch ultras are now 15%. So you can't use the control solution to assure accuracy any closer than that range. Useless. And you certainly can't use the control solution to calibrate the meter, even if it was an actual reference, you can't adjust anything to calibrate it.

Besides, the control solution is "bad" within three months. If anyone has actually replaced their expired solution, I'd like them to raise their hand. Try asking for a replacement control solution at your pharmacy, they don't have it and suggest you call the manufacturer. They probably then go back into the back room where they keep the good drugs and laugh about it.

So I think control solution is a "deception" aimed at making you think the meter is actually accurate because it can be calibrated (when it actually cannot be calibrated).

ps. The only possible use for control solution might be as a last resort to treat a hypo, except you would walk around with a blue mouth.

I have also noticed this effect, which can occur with either the strips or meter being especially cold. I believe the cold slows down the reagent. The manual for my meter (onetouch) actually says:

Make sure your meter and test strips are about the same temperature before you test.

Testing must be done within the operating temperature range (43–111°F). For the most accurate results, try to test as close to room temperature (68–77°F) as you can.

My meter also has a high and low temperature error that will be displayed when you are outside of operating temperature (43-111°F), but my experience is that it is best to test with both strips and meter stable at room temperature.