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Frequent Responder
irishspike67
Total Posts: 75
Registered on: ‎11-19-2010

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

Hi, everybody! 

Another question from your old pal, IrishSpike67:

Is there really such a thing as expiration dates on test strips? I mean, obviously, I might not want to use test strips that are several years old but a month or two past the expiration date? I'm waiting for Liberty Medical to get in touch with my Endo to refill my testing supplies but until then, is it a bad idea to use July's test strips? Sometimes I wonder if this isn't just a marketing ploy to keep selling test strips, but I don't want to mess with my diabetes any more than I am now.
Frequent Responder
senator2214
Total Posts: 76
Registered on: ‎10-19-2010

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

I personally say One month is just fine but over that you might be playing with fire sort of speak
If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself
Frequent Responder
robertmiles
Total Posts: 423
Registered on: ‎02-01-2010

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

From what I've read, it depends heavily on what temperatures the strips have been stored at.
If it's outside the reccommended range, the expiration date could easily be correct.  If they've been stored at the correct temperatures, expect a longer time before they start giving bad readings.  And for those that expire, expect a slow drift outside the normal readings, not a sudden failure to quit working at all.  There are a few brands that suddenly quit working at the labelled expiration date, though.
mollythed
Total Posts: 5,924
Topics: 75
High Fives: 1,056
Solutions: 116
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

Of course the manufacturer will tell you not to use them, but anything that has an expiration date will have a built-in safety factor.  If strips are good for years, a few more weeks is probably not critical, especially if you don't see any change in performance.  Still the dates are there to protect you, not just from yourself, but from, for instance, suppliers that don't rotate their stock carefully.

Things like temperature and humidity have a big effect on how long test strips will stay effect, so if you know that the strips have been stored carefully, they are probably still good, even if this has been a brutal summer.  On the other hand leaving the cover slightly ajar overnight can wipe out a whole vial of test strips right then and there, long before the expiration date.

Some "smart" test strips nowadays are designed to "know" their own expiration date.  The meter will give an error message and not allow you to use the strips.  In the past, you could sometimes work around that by resetting your meter and changing the year back to last year.  We have a half a vial of test strips at our house right now that expired 7/31/2011 and but my husband's meter won't let us reset the date back to 2010.  Hmmm...

Personally, since I am using the strips to determine my insulin dose, I want assurance that they are as accurate as possible.  If I were just using diet and exercise as management tools, I would be a lot more willing to experiment with older strips, especiallly if the results still seemed to make sense or if I had no choice to test at all unless I used older strips.

"Molly" (aka mollythed)
Type 2 diabetes diagnosed in 1995, now managed with Lantus, Humalog and Metformin; diet and exercise.
My husband and three adult sons also have type 2 diabetes.





Frequent Responder
sandy6789
Total Posts: 111
Registered on: ‎09-18-2010

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

I have bought some test strips from a salvage store and the strips are over a yr old.  I test each box to a new supply of strips from Walmart and most often its read from 5 to 10 points off.  If the results are high on the old strips I test on the good strip and the results are pretty close.  So I do know what range I'm in.  Some people might not like the idea but when money is short you got to do what you got to do.  I can afford the Walmart brand, but not test as much as I like, But I have about 600 strips in my closet and I can test my heart out if I want to.  The whole mess cost me about $10.00.  I'm not saying this is the thing to do but it works for me.

Sandy
T2 Diabetic since Dec.2007 AC 5.4   Aug. 2011 A1c 7.4 March 2013 6.2

Metformin 1000 X 3xdaily
Frequent Responder
SpeechLady85
Total Posts: 619
Registered on: ‎11-03-2009

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

Hi Sandy
Because I'm not on bolus insulin, I'd like to have a stash of strips like yours - just so I could do the tesing I'd like to do (FBG, pre, post each meal, before evening snack, any time I'm feeling a low (or a high). My PCP's nurse only writes the script for 3 tests a day. My endo wrote for 5 x/day, but that was a few yrs ago. I might ask my brother (also T2, but doesn't test often) to look for strips for me since it's 35 mi to 'town' for me. TTFN, Vicki
Live (to the max), Love (and hopefully be loved), Laugh (at every opportunity),
Eat (healthily), Pray (if it suits you),
Love (yourself enough - to put your  health first).
Diagnosed 2001,  I am a work in progress = progressing to not let 'D' control me - with the help of my 'D' family here.
Frequent Responder
sandy6789
Total Posts: 111
Registered on: ‎09-18-2010

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

Vicki, try some of those salvage stores that are poping up every where.  The ones with the dented can goods in them.  I found mine in a bin plus the meter that goes with it there, the strips were 50 cents a box, 100 to a box. I compare each box with a good strip from a new box that I have handy. Really figured if any was bad I could just throw them away.  Didn't spend much on them anyway..  I've been having a harder  finding them now somebody might be having the same idea because I can't find any here lately.  Hope you can find some. 

Sandy
T2 Diabetic since Dec.2007 AC 5.4   Aug. 2011 A1c 7.4 March 2013 6.2

Metformin 1000 X 3xdaily
Frequent Responder
SpeechLady85
Total Posts: 619
Registered on: ‎11-03-2009

Are Expired Test Strips Really Expired?

Thanks for the info Sandy!
I'll look at the Dollar stores, Big Lot, etc when I go to town later this week. Otherwise I may get the house label meter & strips next time I'm at a Wally World. 
Hope you have luck finding more supplies - I promise I won't shop in your area, lol. - Vicki
Live (to the max), Love (and hopefully be loved), Laugh (at every opportunity),
Eat (healthily), Pray (if it suits you),
Love (yourself enough - to put your  health first).
Diagnosed 2001,  I am a work in progress = progressing to not let 'D' control me - with the help of my 'D' family here.