If you’re diabetic, you probably have plenty of glucose test strips lying around, and sometimes, due to your constant use, you’ll find yourself running out and scrounging about until you find one that you swear you bought a long time ago, which leads you to ask, “do diabetes test strips expire?”
Well, to answer that question, yes. Diabetes test strips really do expire.
You may not always find an expiration date there, but they do expire. They don’t retain their efficacy forever. They may still work well after the expiration date, which is good, but the point is, the expiration date is not some ploy by pharmaceutical companies to try and con you to spending more money than you should.
The fact of the matter is that the enzymes and chemicals responsible for making the test strips work have an expiration date. Time gets to them eventually, or so to speak.
Are Expired Diabetes Test Strips Reliable?
Diabetes test strips work thanks to the interaction between the glucose oxidase found on the strip and the glucose in the ball, which produced gluconic acid. The glucometer at the end of the strip then measures the gluconic acid to give off a reading.
While test strips are not 100% accurate, they are the closest thing we have to accurately measuring our blood sugar levels at home. Besides, with diabetes being no joke, it’s still far better than not knowing your blood sugar levels at all.
As for using them past their expiration date, the decision is completely up to you. You’re likely not the first one not to take the expiration date seriously. Besides, sometimes, desperate times just call for desperate measures. Or, you know, you just don’t want to go out and buy new ones for whatever reason you may have.
Most test strips should work beyond their expiration date anyway. Just how long after is the question though. That’s something we can’t exactly say for sure. Also uncertain is if whether or not we can trust the results given by an older strip. They’ll give you results, sure, but always take it with a grain of salt.
If you’re wondering if the expiration dates are all a ploy by pharmaceutical companies to get you to spend more money needlessly on things that may not expire, well, good luck with that. That’s your risk to take.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if whether or not the readings of an expired diabetes strip are worth the risk. Chances are, it’s not. After all, it is your health on the line and trying to save money by skipping a blood test is akin to a game of Russian roulette. Remember, if the readings are inaccurate just by one bit, you risk skipping your medication. That can then lead to a trip to the hospital. In the end, your decision to save money might just end up costing you a lot more in terms of treatment and medication.
So, to answer the question, yes, diabetes test strips do expire. You might be able to use them well after the expiry date, but doing so is absolutely not recommended.