FAQ: "Why do I need control solution? Isn't that is outdated technology?"
On the contrary, most meters on the market today do either come with or recommend control solution, including 11 other meters we purchased to compare against our meter for accuracy. And, there is a really good reason why it is still around.
What Is Control Solution
Control solution is a glucose solution that manufacturers produce with a set amount of glucose. They calibrate the control solution with the meter so you can only use control solution with its own brand of meter, just like test strips. The control solution does NOT calibrate the meter. It checks the accuracy of the test strips for the meter. There are usually 2-3 different levels of control solution. Each has a different concentration of glucose, allowing you to check for test accuracy at low, normal and high glucose levels for any given batch of test strips. You do not need to use all three to verify that your test strips are working. One is usually sufficient. Why waste three test strips out of every vial?
Testing Your Test Strips
Test strips have a plastic or paper base with very thin metal or carbon overlay and an enzyme. The blood or control solution runs up the strip and mixes with the enzyme. The meter then passes a small electrical charge through the mixture. The resistance is what determines your reading. Meters are calibrated during manufacturing to equate a blood glucose result equivalent to the level of resistance that would occur in blood with that much glucose present.
The enzyme on the strip is very sensitive to heat, cold, moisture and direct sunlight. Performing a control test and comparing your result to the range on the side of a newly opened container of test strips tells you whether the batch will work correctly. Statistical analysis has shown that if one strip from a bottle is good then all the strips are good and conversely if one is bad then they're all likely bad. So, if your test strips were damaged by environmental factors during shipping, you will know instantly that results will be inaccurate and you need a new batch. You should perform a control test the first time you open a bottle of strips and whenever you get a result that doesn't seem right. If you get a result that's outside the range, perform another control test right away.
Here are 5 simple steps to help you perform a control solution test:
1. Gathering the tools
You will need your meter, your test strips, and the control solution. You received one of three levels (CTRL 0, CTRL 1, or CTRL 2) with your Diathrive order.
2. Insert a test strip
Remove one test strip from the vial, and close the vial immediately to limit environmental exposure on the rest of the strips. Insert the test strip into the test strip port at the top of your meter.
3. Prepare control solution
Remove the cap from the control solution bottle and set the cap on a flat surface. Squeeze one drop of control solution onto the top of the cap.
4. Touch the end of the test strip to the drop of solution on the cap
Do not apply the solution directly to the test strip from the control solution bottle. This can cause contamination and degrade your solution's accuracy.
5. Compare the results from your meter to the test strip vial label
Find the control level on the label that matches the number on your control solution bottle. If the result of the control solution test falls within the range indicated on the test strip vial label, your meter and test strips are working properly.
What To Do If Control Solution Is Out of Range
The FDA only requires a meter's result to be within 15% of the laboratory value 95% of the time. It's always possible to get an outlier reading with any meter that you use. If your control test is outside the range twice then call your provider and give the lot # printed on your bottle of test strips. Just as we do, they should exchange the test strips for you at no cost.
Diathrive sends you control solution so you can always have the peace of mind that your test strips are working correctly and giving you accurate results. We want to make sure that if you ever get a strange result late on a Friday or Saturday night you have the tools to know whether your test strips are the problem.
Last updated Oct 2019
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