Freestyle Lite Wildly Inaccurate?

Hi all, long time no post. Since I was last hanging out here, I’ve switched to a Dexcom G6 (love it), and my son, 8, has come down with type 1 (serious bummer not but entirely unexpected as we were testing him regularly beforehand, etc. and thus his diagnosis A1c was 7.0, no admission necessary, etc.).

Here’s the question of the day. My son is not on a CGM yet and we’re testing him a lot so we switched from Contour meter/test strips to Freestyle Lite, but the results have been wildly, wildly inaccurate. I just tested him with the Freestyle lite and it showed 80, when the Contour showed him 214. One might ask if this was actually the Contour that was wrong but in repeated back to back tests, I’ve also gotten the Freestyle to show him at 120+ points apart in back to back tests against itself.

We called up support about this and they sent us a new meter and a new box of strips and no change - results still repeatedly varying by 100 points+ from both the Contour results and from back to back tests against itself.

Has anyone else experienced this? I am stupefied - these results are so far off that trying to treat using it is impossible, but also I cannot imagine anyone else using this.

We tested our daughter’s Freestyle Lite against the lab for 3 years. Freestyle was lower by 20-40 pts every time. We replaced it twice during that time, with the same results. We just adjusted accordingly since it was the only meter covered by insurance.

Thanks very much tiaE.

I have observed that to some extent as well - it does seem to run systematically lower. As bad as that is, it’s less worrying than it sometimes being 30 points lower but also sometimes, and not consistently, not just 30 but 130 points lower.

Frightening that we depend on these for dosing.

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I’ve used several different meters over the past decade and have always found the Freestyle Lite to be accurate with repeatable results. It now matches up well with my CGM. Other meters were much worse although I never used the Contour. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work - this may be another case where YDMV.


Have you tried it on yourself? Do you get the same wacky results?

Throw the freestyle in the trash and test the contour with control solution - I cannot for the life of me figure out why folks talk about meter accuracy without testing with control solution. It’s either in range or not PERIOD

Contour next is top of the line for accuracy according to my readings

test it

I use exclusively Freestyle Lite and I am extremely satisfied. Its readings are consistent, match lab test results as well as my feelings (when bg is low or starting to go low).

I’ve been using the Freestyle lite and regular strips for many years. Far more consistent and accurate than any other meter I have ever used (and I have tried a ton!) It always corresponds exactly with how I feel BG 80 - feeling good vs 60 - feeling low etc. I trust it 100%. I’ve never ever had erratic readings, and very rarely have back to back reading more than a couple of points off. What you are describing sounds very much like my experience with ReliOn or CVS test strips. Trying to dose insulin with erratic results is very nerve racking!

I use Freestyle Freedom (OmniPod PDM) and stand-alone glucometer. Both of them are very accurate against lab blood draws, against my Dexcom 5 (and the Dex 4 was just as accurate), and my HbA1c matches up as well. I’m not sure the difference between plain Freedom and Freedom Lite, but my experience with plain Freedom is great.

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Thanks all. Color me very confused, esp. after having both meter and strips replaced…

As of the last time I looked these meters can differ by the GREATER of 40mg/dl or 40% of the actual value and still be in spec; if a meter reads 80mg/dl the actual value can be as high as 100mg/dl and if one reads 200mg/dl the reading can be as low as 167mg/dl. Clearly your results are out of that range.

However those specifications apply to controlled conditions and it is very very easy to get a bad reading either from contamination on the place were the blood sample is taken or as a result of medications (acetominophen, to name one I only found out about recently). The acetominophen errors are certainly well within what you saw and they apparently are errors; not consistent over or under reading. (In fact I find this a little hard to believe, but that is what the report said.)

A while back “plain” FreeStyle strips (the predecessor of the “Lite”, the ones used with the current Omnipod PDM) had a significant set of recalls because they were reading incorrectly, first with a variety of meters then only with the Omnipod PDM. I never saw a scientific analysis of this and I suspect I never will; rather I believe there are a lot of factors that can make any given test system go wrong and it is very easy to hit those.

Most of us only test with one system, so we only notice when our bodies tell us that the meter is wrong. Trust the body, not the meter; if it once you think it’s wrong, test, test again, i.e. do best of three. For a while during the FreeStyle Fiasco I was testing quite frequently against a Contour USB meter which I had from before the Omnipod; I didn’t see significantly (40%) different results but I came to the conclusion that the received wisdom from tudiabetes was correct, that FreeStyle+Omnipod consisently reads slightly higher (maybe 10-20mg/dl). Of course I didn’t have any way of knowing which was right.

Consistent failures are fine; we’re pretty good at this stuff and we adjust the bolus to match how our meter works. We can also “normalize” to a BG level significantly different from 80mg/dl and, indeed, a lot of doctorial wisdom suggests doing that (i.e. target 100+, not 80). The problem is the random errors. The ones I know are from when I suspect the reading is wrong; repeat it and get a different answer. For me it hardly ever happens and when it has happened it has been finger contamination.

John Bowler jbowler

I remember that. We weren’t able to use any strips with a specific expiration date (the strips had to be after a certain expiration date for them to be reliable). I’m happy with the Freestyle strips, but once I no longer need them for my pdm, I’ll have to test some of the other strips. I understand Contour Next are rated high.

This post is my reference point:

@Terry4 shared this “good meter survey”

I’ve run Freestyle Lite and Contour Next side by side over two time periods. The Contour strips ran 12.5% (1/8th) higher than the Freestyle. It was quite consistent, so one (or both) has a measurement bias. When I brought it up to the Endo I was going to at the time, she just shrugged. It was as if I had a choice between controlling BG higher or lower through selection of test strips. I’ve never come to a conclusion trying to compare strips to lab results.

So we’re using results with unknown bias and making a decision (or guess). If one chooses a strip that consistently reads low, then actual BGs will be higher resulting in long term damage. If one chooses a strip that reads consistently high, then actual BGs will be lower possibly contributing to long term damage. HbA1C is subject to individual variability and high/low BGs probably don’t offset, so HbA1C isn’t the answer. And according to studies, we are discussing two of the more accurate brands of test strips.

Why not just test with the control solution for accuracy

why go through anything else

it’s either in range or not

you will know after a few tests if it reads consistently high or low in the range

I love my Freestyle lite. Of all the meters I have, I find it the most accurate FOR ME. I don’t like the faux-scientific method often used in these comparison studies you see all over. The Freestyle lite is the one that most often correlates with how I feel, which is the best praise I can give a meter. If I feel hyper or hypo, it gives a similar reading to what my 30 years of experience would lead me to expect. Unlike other meters, like my despised one touch verio, which I can’t even trust to bolus from. Complete random number generator that always leads to crazy hypos.

Of course, I haven’t had those wide number variations, either. Did you check if the different meters/strips were from the same lot?