How To Decide Which Glucose Meter to Buy?
Code-Free or Not Code-Free? Small Sample Size? Strip Enzyme? Are all these factors (and others) confusing you in your decision to purchase a glucose meter? There are hundreds of types of glucose meters available in Pakistan, and it can get quite overwhelming when deciding which glucose meter to purchase that will provide you an accurate reading, and at a price that does not break the bank. We list down some of the variables to consider when deciding which meter to buy, and give you a comparison of some popular meters available in Pakistan
Glucose strips can come with several enzymes, and each has advantages and disadvantages, both. The most common enzymes are FAD-dependent glucose dehydrogenase (GDH-FAD), GDH-PQQ, and glucose oxidase (GOD). GDH-PQQ has a significant disadvantage in that it also detects other sugars in the bloodstream apart from glucose, such as maltose, xylose and galactose. Patients on medicines which contains xylose, maltose etc. then end up getting inaccurate readings. Patients get false ‘highs’, and if they correct for these false high values, they may go into hypoglycemia.
GDH-FAD and GOD enzymes do not encounter this issue. However, GOD strips are not safe from oxygen interference – oxygen content in the blood sample influences the readings, which may result in inaccurate test reading. GOD also interferes with acetaminophen (commonly sold under the brand name of Tylenol). Consequently, those patients who are consuming acetaminophen would not get an accurate reading if they are using a strip based on the GOD enzyme.
GDH-FAD avoids both these problems (although among sugars, it does interfere with xylose). It is commonly seen as the best type of enzyme for blood glucose testing. However, the price point is not as low as GOD, and this is often a factor when people choose GOD over GDH enzyme based strips.
Amount of Blood Required
No one likes to be pricked deeply, least of all people who need to test multiple times a day. With older meters, a higher blood volume was required to get a test result, which meant that the pricker had to penetrate the skin deeper. With most modern meters, around 0.6 mL or less of blood is required, which means that one does not have to prick too deeply. Beware if a meter requires much more than this – it is probably a good indication that the meter is relying on outdated technology.
Code-Free vs. Non-Code Free
Strips may vary batch to batch. Older models, therefore, required users to enter a code that was printed on the packaging of the strip pack. Upon entering the code, the meter was calibrated to that particular batch of the strips. With advancements in technologies, the code information was entered into the strips themselves, and the users no longer had to manually enter the code. This overcomes a big risk factor – the user may inadvertently enter the wrong code, and act upon the wrong reading.
Data Storage and Retrieval
Healthcare providers need to see glucose trends to make decisions around the treatment plan. If they don’t have access to good quality data, then understandably the quality of their decisions will also be poor. Meters in the market sometimes store a few readings and may display one or two types of averages. However, glucose testing data needs to convey so much more. A healthcare provider needs to see the time and date, whether a reading was pre-meal, post-meal, or fasting, and whether their patient had had something out of the ordinary. They also need to see trends to gain a better understanding of a patient’s glycemic profile. The Medworks application provides this rich-context laded information to people with diabetes and their healthcare providers, making the management simpler.
Availability of strips in individual packing
Strips in vial-packing start reacting immediately with air, humidity, and light when the vial is opened. When you open a vial containing 25 or 50 strips, all the strips become exposed, even though you are using only one strip at a given time. This affects the accuracy of the result. Furthermore, the shelf life of vial-packed strips is not as long as those that come in individual foil-packing.
Glucose meter buying guide for Pakistan
We review some of the options for glucose meters in Pakistan below so you can make the right purchase based on the desired features and your budget.
|PRODUCT NAME||BLOOD SAMPLE SIZE||FAST TEST RESULTS||BATTERY LIFE||MEMORY||INDIVIDUAL FOIL PACKAGING||ENZYME||MEASUREMENT RANGE||ANALYTICS||EASY REPORT SHARING|
|MEDWORKS GLU-SAGE||0.6 µL||10 seconds||4000 tests||Unlimited||Yes||GDH-FAD||20mg/dL-600mg/dL||Yes||Yes|
|ACCU- CHEK ACTIVE||1-2 µL||5 seconds||1000 tests||500 records||No||Mut.Q-GDH2||10mg/dL-600mg/dL||Only on PC||No|
|ACCU-CHEK PERFORMA||0.6 µL||5 seconds||2000 tests||500 records||No||Mut.Q-GDH2||10mg/dL-600mg/dL||Only on PC||No|
|ACCU-CHEK INSTANT||0.6 µL||4 seconds||1000 tests||720 records||No||Mut.Q-GDH2||10mg/dL-600mg/dL||Only on PC||No|
|FREESTYLE LITE||0.3 µL||5 seconds||1000 tests||400 records||Yes||GDH-PQQ||20mg/dL-500mg/dL||Only on PC||No|
|FREESTYLE OPTIMUM NEO||0.6 µL||5 seconds||3000 tests||1000 records||Yes||GDH-NAD||20mg/dL-500mg/dL||Only on PC||No|
|EVOCHECK||0.75 µL||5 seconds||1000 tests||1000 records||No||GDH-FAD||10 mg/dL –
|EASY MAX BLOOD GLUCOSE METER||0.6 µL||5 seconds||2000 tests||480 records||Yes||GDH-FAD||20 mg/dL – 630mg/dL||No||No|
|ON CALL PLUS||0.5 µL||10 seconds||–||300 records||Yes||GOD||20 mg/dL – 600mg/dL||No||No|
|ON CALL EZ II||1 µL||10 seconds||–||100 records||Yes||GOD||20 mg/dL – 600mg/dL||No||No|
|VIVACHECK ECO||0.5 µL||5 seconds||1000 tests||300 records||Yes||GOD||10 mg/dL -600mg/dL||No||No|