One question we hear often from people is, “Why do I need control solution? That is outdated technology.”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 and red coloring to make it look like blood. 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. To be clear, 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. The only difference is that each one contains a different percentage of glucose.
Testing Your Test Strips
All test strips have a plastic or paper base with very thin metal or carbon overlay and an enzyme. The blood or solution runs up the strip and mixes with the enzyme. The meter passes an electric charge through it and the resistance is what determines your blood sugar. 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.
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 them the lot # of your bottle of test strips. They should exchange the test strips for you at no cost.
At Diathrive we send you control solution with every order 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.