Where are you getting Freestyle test strips?

I’m having trouble finding freestyle test strips that haven’t been recalled(expiation date has to be 8/15 or later).

Call Abbott. They might send you some for free. They did it for me.

My pharmacy, Walgreens here in Rhode Island orders them in for me. I’m their only customer using them, but they have been awesome about getting them for me.

CVS/Caremark mail order (after the free ones from Abbott)

Go ahead and get the old ones, then like Helmut suggested call Abbott. They'll replace them with good ones.

It is also no big deal to use the recalled ones. They read lower. Just dial up the code by 1 and you will be fine. I used 19 before the recall and now use 18.


They tried supplying me with early dated strips immediately after the recall; I caught that, they then supplied me with one batch dated 8/14, I didn't catch that. Since then they've been reliable however they take about a week to get them in each time.

The problem seems to be that Abbott are discontinuing FreeStyle test strips entirely; there are lots of FreeStyle Lite, but no FreeStyle.

Abbott was helpful when the problem first arose with verifying that Walmart could cope with the problem, of course they were wrong (Walmart couldn't get me the right strips at the time) but at least Abbott knew that the problem would arise.

John Bowler

I was wrong. I just checked and Walmart has been supplying me with mixed batches, in the last two months I've had 200 out of 300 test strips from 07/2015; too early.

They weren't doing this before; they did it the first couple of times after the recall and I caught one of them and missed another (they supplied 08/2014, I got the date wrong).

A large part of the problem is that they put the prescription label over the date code, so I don't normally check it and I don't read the vial (well... the code is always 16!)

John Bowler

I telephoned Abbott on the number they give to use if the pharmacy supplies the wrong strips, 1-877-584-5159, here:


The lady (Sharla) had me open all the boxes and check the lot numbers; they were all the same lot (1453153; 2015/07) and she confirmed that they may read low with the PDM. Abbott are going to send replacements, I asked about telling Walmart of the issue (again ;-), but she said that wasn't necessary.

I guess next time I go to Walmart I'm going to have to stand at the register peeling the labels off every single one of the boxes to check the date...

Incidentally I did a side-by-side test of 2 strips from the 07/2015 lot against 2 from 10/2015 and they read the same (150-155mg/dl in this case.)

Update: Sharla just rang me back and asked if I had received any medical treatment from someone else in connection with this or if I had used Glucagon. I think we can all work out what those questions mean.

John Bowler

Thank you everyone. I have been calling Abbott and getting replacements. So far they have been very generous and sent me 4 or 5 shipments. I was just wondering if is some place I might get them directly now. I did try Walmart too and they sent strips that expired in the month I ordered them. I will try CVS and call Abbott again if need be. Thanks again!

I just tested this using the strips Abbott are replacing and the 2015/10 ones that I have. With code 16 the old strips read the same as the new and, in my test, the new ones actually showed greater variation, but with code 17 the old strips seem significantly higher. I did notice that if I kept a drop of blood on my finger the results gradually went up with each strip I tested, so I started squeezing blood out for each test after the first four. Here are the results (in the order collected):

2015/07 ...129
2015/10 ........133
2015/07 ............137
2015/10 ................141
[Now I started drawing blood for each test:]
2015/07 ......131
2015/10 125
2015/07 ......131
[Now I swapped the meter to code 17:]
2015/07 ..................143
2015/07 ................141
2015/07 .................142

The 'dots' count each mg/dl above 125, so you can see that my initial tests drifted up as, I guess, my blood dried (it only takes a little evaporation to raise the concentration of blood sugar). After I started drawing blood each time the 07 strips were reading higher, not lower, but I don't regard that as significant.

When I swapped the code to 17 the 07 strip readings jumped to higher than any values except my last "dried blood" test. (Incidentally, this happened fast, I didn't take more than the test time plus 10 seconds between each successive test; less than 30s.)

I went back to the Abbott control solution for verification. Of course this has the same evaporation problem and the solution I have is way pass its use by date (2012). This is what I got (new 'dot' scale, it starts at 88 now):

2015/07 ..............................118
2015/10 ..............................118
2015/07 ....92
[I had a lot of problems getting that latter test to start, I ended up shaking the test solution bottle and I think I'd got new stuff; I suspect the old stuff in the neck of the bottle had already suffered severe evaporation, hence the high results.]
2015/10 .89
2015/07 ..91
2015/10 88
2015/07 88

As a final test I used the Abbott FreeStyle test meter with the control solution; it read 90 (I only did one test.)

So I think that just raising the code without first calibrating the test strips, e.g. by using the FreeStyle meter and the control solution, may actually introduce problems. Abbott always maintained that some but not all old lots had problems.

John Bowler