HEALTH authorities in Bahrain yesterday alerted diabetes patients who use special strips to check their blood sugar levels against buying certain brands.
The alert followed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing an advisory that many of these strips marketed by Abbot Diabetes Care, gave lower readings than was actually the case, in the process compromising diabetics’ health.
Immediately after the alert was issued, the company voluntarily recalled more than 300 million of these strips from store shelves across the US.
“We are now checking whether these strips are present in the Bahrain market,” said a Health Ministry official.
“If these are available, we will advise their immediate withdrawal.” The official, who would not be named, said preliminary investigations had ruled out the possibility of the affected lot numbers being in Bahrain.
“However, there may be thousands of people who get these strips from overseas and those could be among the batch numbers recalled,” he said.
The official said consumers with these test strips should stop using them and switch to an alternative testing method or purchase unaffected ones if available.
He said those who have neither should not stop testing their blood glucose, but continue to do so with some precautions.
These include checking the amount of time it takes for the blood glucose meter to start the “countdown” after the application of blood to the test strip.
“If your meter takes longer than five seconds to start the countdown that test strip is defective and the result should not be used,” said the official.
He said users should also check the time for each test strip because all strips in a package may not be affected to the same degree.
“If any reading from a strip appears lower than you would expect or does not seem to match the way you are feeling, you should contact your doctor,” said the official.
He said patients should also pay special attention to signs and symptoms of high blood sugar and low blood sugar.
The official said if anything abnormal is noticed, people should contact the Health Ministry on 17288888 and report the event to the drug control section.