Testing blood sugar should be a regular part of a daily routine for anyone living with diabetes. Using the control solution for the test strips? No thank you. I am not even sure if my newest meter came with control solution. In a recent survey, only 23 percent of diabetes patients said they use control solution. To contribute to the problem the results also showed that very few pharmacists and physicians recommended using control solution regularly. Many said that they didn’t think it was necessary with newer devices.
It turns out that manufacturers recommend that patients use control solution when they suspect a malfunction, and every time a new glucometer or a new pack of test strips is used. That is a lot of control solution if you are testing multiple times a day. It seems to me that the manufacturer ought to find a way for the test strips to be accurate before they leave the factory.
There is some miscommunication between the manufacturers of glucose meters and those prescribing the use of them and in extension those using the meter on a daily basis. I for one haven’t used control solution to test accuracy of my strips for more than 10 years and I am sure I am not the only one. However, if I knew that it was making a large difference in my diabetes management I would do what I needed to in order to get the most accurate results and in turn have the best control possible. Many rely on their healthcare providers to provide them with the best equipment to manage their diabetes. So if it's important to be using control solution and the manufacturers say it is, then they need to start better educating those that distribute the meters in the proper usage of the meter, test strips, and control solution.
It was reported during this study that control solution may very well become increasingly more important as the FDA tightens the criteria on glucose meters with more stringent requirements for accuracy. For something that is quite important to the test results of each blood sugar reading the majority of patients, pharmacist and physicians aren’t paying much attention. Or more accurately stated aren’t receiving proper education on the subject.
With the importance of control solution being brought to light, I am probably going to search through my drawers of diabetes supplies to see if I can find some stashed away somewhere. In the meantime I would hope that glucose meter manufacturers will work on a better way to ensure accuracy in their devices that so many people depend on for daily diabetes management and well being.
To learn more about glucose testing:
All about Glucose Monitoring
How to Get the Most From Your Glucose Meter
Glucose Monitoring—Tip 5: No Judgments, This Test You Cannot “Fail”