Diabetic. Symptoms. Manage.

Is It Okay To Use Second-Hand Glucose Strips?

Worldwide, people with diabetes use glucometers and test strips to monitor their blood glucose level regularly. In Malaysia, these test strips cost approximately RM2 for each strip. Some may have to test several times a day and the affordability of these supplies can be a challenge. Under this circumstance, some people turn to buying and utilising second-hand test strips to save cost. These pre-owned test strips that are unused and previously owned by someone else are sold at very low prices both online and offline and are tempting, but, are they safe for use?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) warned against buying pre-owned test strips. This is because pre-owned test strips can give incorrect results and may not be suitable to use with your own device. For test strips to give accurate results, these strips need to be stored properly. It is difficult to be sure that the test strips were properly stored when buying second-hand strips and this can put you at the risk of getting inaccurate results, which can lead to serious health complications. Second-hand test strip vials may have been tampered with and the expiration dates of these strips cannot be assured, making it unsafe for use. Buying pre-owned test strips would also mean that the test strip vials may have been opened by another person, and small amounts of blood may be present, which can put you at the risk of infection.

It is not recommended for anyone to purchase and use second-hand glucose test strips. Therefore, the next time you come across glucose test strips that are sold at unbelievably low prices that is too good to be true, it probably is. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are not sure about the quality of your test strips.



  1. United States Food and Drug Administration. How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes [Internet]. 2008 March 18 [updated 2017 May 16; cited 2017 September 23]. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm04905htm

diabetes, second-hand strips, glucose, glucometer, test strips

About The Author
Lee E Lyn
Ms. Lee E Lyn graduated with a BPharm (Hons) degree from International Medical University in 2011. She started working as a hospital pharmacist and headed the diabetes medication therapy adherence clinic in the hospital. This sparked her interest in diabetes care and chronic disease management to which she then pursued a Masters in Medical and Health Sciences degree in this area. She is a member of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) and is actively involved in projects under the Young Pharmacist Chapter of MPS.

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