Are There Any Blood Glucose Monitors That Don't Require Strips?

glucometer strips

Test Strips Are So Expensive. Do Any Glucose Monitors Not Need Them?

No, unfortunately there are no glucose monitors currently on the market which do not require test strips. If your medical insurance does not cover the cost of strips, it will be an ongoing expense as part of your diabetes treatment. Strips can cost anywhere between 50 cents and $1 each. So if you test 5 times a day that works out at $1,825 a year. If you think this sounds like a cash-cow for some corporates, you’re probably right. The world blood glucose monitoring market was estimated to be worth $8.9 billion in 2010, that's up from $6.2 billion in 2003. Taking the 2010 figure, glucose test strips alone accounted for nearly $7.9 billion of that $8.9 billion. Some people compare it to the computer printing and ink market. While printers are usually quite cheap to buy, you end up being tied in to buying pricey ink cartridges from the manufacturer. Similarly, you'll find that most glucose meters will only work with certain strips, so when you buy a meter you are also tying yourself into one supplier of strips. Now you know why most manufacturers do everything they can to keep the price of their meters down - they're the bait!

However it’s not all bad. Newer glucose meters are making it easier and less fiddly for users to perform tests. For example the Accu-Check monitor has an integrated continuous testing tape which can last for 50 tests. This means you no longer have to insert a single strip for every reading. The Ascensia Autodisc test strips are another development, each one is designed to be used several times. They work with certain makes of monitors including Ascensia BREEZE, Ascensia DEX 2, Glucometer DEX and Glucometer DEX 2. The strips come in a disk which is rotated in the monitor after each test, so that a fresh test area is presented for the next use. Most retail packages include 5 disks, giving you a total of 50 tests. This is particularly convenient for people who don't have time to keep changing strips.

Keeping The Costs Down

If you don't have medical insurance, contact the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) for information about discount programs run by health organizations, state agencies and pharmaceutical companies. Or call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) for information. Never be tempted to reduce the amount of times you test for financial reasons, you will be playing with your life. Studies consistently show that you can reduce your risk of or slow the onset of diabetes complications by as much 70 percent by regular testing.

For more about diabetes, check our articles on:
Causes of Diabetes: What causes the disease, from cow's milk to viruses!
Diabetes Testing: The top 10 tests you should undergo regularly to reduce your risk of diabetes complications.
Insulin Pens: Less than 5 percent of Americans use insulin pens to deliver their insulin, compared to nearly 90 percent of Europeans. Read about the benefits, and why a switch might be worth considering.
See also our guide to buying glucose monitors.
What is a normal blood sugar count?
Interested in screening for signs of diabetes? See, are there any home tests for diabetes?
Recently received a prediabetes diagnosis? See can prediabetes be reversed?

• Need more information? See: Diabetes Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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