FreeStyle meter/test strips gripe

Before I got my OmniPod, I used an Accu-Check meter and liked it. Now that I’ve had to use the FreeStyle meter built into the PDM, in hindsight I LOVED my Accu-Check.

Does anyone else have problems with getting the test strips to “accept” a blood sample? It happens to me pretty often, especially when I’m having a low and my hands are shaking a little. Sometimes I bleed all over the darn strip and can’t get it to work. I really miss the Accu-Check test strips that sort of “wicked” or, as my CDE says, “sipped” the sample up very easily.

To top it off, FreeStyle test strips are a LOT more expensive even when I get the $50 rebate from the FreeStyle Promise program.

While I could carry around my old meter and enter the data into my PDM manually – and did for the first couple of months to use up my test strips – that’s a pain and defeats one of the convenience factors that I like about my OmniPod.

Anyone else have this experience?


Yes, Janet, I have had that happen…as you mention, most often when I am low. While the strips have a few times just been seemingly faulty, most often I am not inserting them far enough into the meter, a problem I have not had with other meters. It is frustrating.

We have this problem from time to time too. I find that the strips are so sensitive sometimes that too much blood clogs them up. I just try to be careful if we have a big drop of blood to only touch the top of it and let the strip soak up what it needs. We aren’t always successful, but usually are. Caleb seems better at it than I am and he isn’t even trying. :slight_smile:

Also, if the blood isn’t registering right away for some reason, I will flip the strip over and let the other side start soaking. This often works.

I also went from an Accu-Chek (the Aviva) to the meter built into the PDM. At first, I didn’t like the strips either, but now I like them WAY more than the Accu-Chek strips - they need a lot less blood, and they fail on me about 1/4 of the time the Aviva failed.

I found you have to use the freestyle ones a little differently. I get a drop of blood on my finger and hold it up to the freestyle strip so the outside of the drop touches the strip. I don’t actually touch the strip with my finger, just the blood drop. It wicks it up just fine, and I can use a lot smaller drop of blood than I needed for the Aviva. It also seems to have a longer timer before it malfunctions because it doesn’t get enough blood.

I do wish they had a visual indicator like the accu-chek strips did so you could see the blood going in.

Price-wise, I get my strips from, and they’re about the same as my old strips. Have you checked there?

I miss my ONETOUCH!!! The Freestyle strips dont pull the blood in like the onetouch. I also dont care that thing has a light on it…if it doesnt pull the blood in, I am still killing myself at 2am trying to get the little drop on the strip.

When I try to put blood in the other side it always gives me an error. What do you mean by flip the strip over? How do you get this to work?

Considering how much these strips cost and how much trouble some of us are reporting, I wonder if Insulet is aware of the situation. They will be soon. :slight_smile:

The wicking thing, yeah, I’ve had that problem, but I usually do it like Barbra suggested (just touch the blood to the strip and not my finger) and it works pretty well.
I don’t get my strips via doctor’s prescription. I buy them from a place that my insurance has deemed an acceptable Durable Medical Supply location. That company will then charge my insurance through the Durable Medical Equipment and Supply “line item”. No copay, no nothin’.

My insurance company requires me to buy strips under the “durable medical” category – which means a much higher copay. I pay $150 for 300 strips!

I haven’t had many problems with freestyle test strips … I’ve had a few not work, but compared to my last meter they work a lot better for me. I had a one touch and constantly messed up strips with that one.

The correct way to sample with the Freestyle strips is definitely to NOT touch the strip with your skin, but rather, as others have said, to touch the tip of the blood droplet to the strip. It will “sip” the blood that it needs. Yes, that’s harder to do when you’re BG is low, but that’s just the way they are designed to work.
BTW, I’m not sure complaining to Insulet will do much good; they don’t make the strips and can’t decide to change to another meter partner on a whim. Better to complain to Freestyle.
I’d say I have trouble with about 1 out of every 15-20 strips, with some of those being user error I’m sure.