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From Texas:

I have a [meter brand name], made by [manufacturer]. Have you heard anything about this meter? Do you think it to be a reliable meter?

To evaluate your meter, you could ask your Diabetes Team's opinion. Even better, you could look at, and "play" with, various models to see which have features that are helpful for you. Your Diabetes Team should have demonstration models of the latest meters available for you to evaluate.

One feature that we're convinced is crucial: we only recommend the newer "no-wipe, self-timing" meters, where you don't have to do anything with the blood once it's on the strip (rather than the older meters where you had to keep track of the time, then wipe the blood off the strip, and hope you did it consistently from one time to the next!).

Of course, you can review other people's opinions about various meters. For example, look at the Blood Glucose Meters pages. Your Diabetes Team can find reviews of various meters in back issues of Diabetes Forecast, in Diabetes Self-Management, and in The Medical Letter.

Some additional comments:

  • Don't trust your local pharmacy's advice, nor the recommendation of your health-insurance company. And don't buy a meter simply because it's used at your hospital for inpatient testing. It's quite possible that these agencies are contracted to a "low-bid" meter that may not be the best choice for you.

  • And don't use "generic strips" in your meter: there have been intermittent problems, and even recalls with some "generic strips," and we just don't feel comfortable in advising their use. If finances prohibit you from testing as regularly as you'd like, you'd probably be better off checking half as often, using the meter manufacturer's expensive strips, as getting twice as many results from a possibly unreliable "generic strip."

  • Remember, sometimes there are offers that sound to good too be true, and this holds for blood sugar meters also: swapping your used excellent meter for a new lousy meter wouldn't be a terribly good idea. But there are sometimes valid upgrade offers that mean you can get a brand new excellent meter for practically no cost: several of the major reliable meter manufacturers will allow their representatives to authorize swapping old meters for brand new meters. Your Diabetes Team will be aware of these offers (since the rep will tell them about it!). Usually, the swap is limited to trading an old meter of another brand, but not always. Remember, the meter companies get your money by sales of their strips: and if they can afford to give away the meter to get your business for the next few years, it'll make them willing to offer the meter swap.

In conclusion: don't switch to a new meter without talking it over with your Diabetes Team.

Original posting 9 Mar 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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