Does your test strip accuracy vary a lot?

I use a freestyle lite meter because that’s what my insurance covers. Back in 2009 Abbott, the maker of the strips, had some issues with strips that read low. Supposedly they revamped their test strips to make them the most accurate (not sure I believe that).

I seem to experience great variation from one bottle of test strips to the next. The one I have now appears to read lower than normal. For example, I tested last night, about 2 hours after eating Chinese food. I was trying to find out whether I could get away with eating some dessert, or whether I would still be running a little high from the Chinese. I got a 76 (!) which is a really low number for me even two hours after eating. I opened another bottle of test strips, took out a strip, tested the same finger, and got a 96.

For a waking number today, using the bottle that seems to give low readouts, I got an 80. Normally, I never get a number that low as a waking number.

Is this sort of within the normal realm of variation for test strips, or could i really have gotten a bottle of test strips that just somehow reads lower than it should?

Unfortunately, even controlling for all other variables, yes, fingerstick tests can vary up to 20% simply because of the meter accuracy.

I have the Freestlye Lite, Freestyle, Omnipod Freestyle, and Accucheck Aviva. Both accuracy and precision within and between the different meters does vary. In general, my Omnipod seems to have the consistently low BG readings.

Not much you can do about the inherent accuracy of the meters. The good news, at least from my experience, is that very rarely will I see a 20% variation even between meters as long as BG numbers are within the normal range. The biggest variation comes with higher BGs. If I ever have a question about the accuracy of a meter, I’ll run a control then run tests with my different meters for comparison.

Hope this helps.

I’ve not noticed a difference between one container of strips & another, but it’s certainly possible. Air & moisture are the enemies of strips, so a newly opened container could be more accurate, I use an Accu-Chek Aviva. They’ve sent me free replacements & a postage paid envelope to return questionable strips.

My experience parallels FHS’. Within normal ranges, meters are more consistently accurate. High or low, I sometimes test against another meter.

Yes, I’ve had wide variences between different meters. I asked my MD about it and he said since I’m not using it for insulin doseage management (I’m still only on pills) to use the numbers for “trending.” Right now I’m using the FreeStyle Freedom Lite meter because I got a good deal on the test strips.

Yes, my readings vary significantly between meters, between bottles of test strips, and between finger sticks. It’s really annoying because sometimes the readings vary between a number that I would leave alone (like a 160) versus a number I would treat (like a 220). You never know which way that +/- 20% that the FDA allows goes.

This FDA allowance of a 20% confidence interval is the one thing that really drives me batty. It’s been the same for years and nothing has been done to change it. The meters get smaller and cuter and even come in colors, but they don’t get more accurate. For T2s this may not be as big of an issue, but for T1s this can be a matter of life and death. Now, before I go to best, I always test on two different meters using test strips from two different bottles, just to be safe.

Thanks. I suppose that it’s also possible that I’m just seeing lower numbers because I’m seeing lower numbers. I’ve been spending more time exposed to direct sunlight and it’s been said that vitamin D helps insulin resistance.