If you're one of 24 million Americans with diabetes and you check your blood sugar regularly to stay healthy, you should also check what kind of test strips you're using.
FDA and Abbott, the giant health products company, are announcing a recall today of up to 359 million blood testing strips used with several of the company's blood glucose monitoring systems.
The problem? The strips may be giving patients a false sense of security by making blood glucose levels look lower than they really are.
The company says the tests in the lots being recalled just aren't absorbing enough blood to give a precise read. And, strips exposed to warm weather or stored for a long time in the medicine cabinet are more likely to give a false result.
"FDA and Abbott are reviewing the cause of the manufacturing defect to avoid this problem in the future," said Alberto Gutierrez of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
The strips being recalled are used with Abbott's Precision Xtra, Precision Xceed Pro, MediSense Optium, Optium, Optium EZ and ReliOn Ultima blood glucose monitoring systems. They were manufactured between January and May 2010 and are sold in retail stores around the country. They are used by both consumers and health care professionals.
Check here to see if your product has been affected.
If it has, call Abbott for a replacement.
FDA says to use another lot or another brand in the meantime, and check the amount of time it takes the blood glucose meter to start the countdown after you first put blood on the test strip. If it's longer than five seconds, the strip is defective.
Also, trust your instincts - if the test result doesn't match what you're feeling, call your health care provider.