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Faulty diabetes test strips recalled

  Saturday, 25 l 12 l 2010 Source: The Straits Times   
By: Salma Khalik

Worldwide recall covers Singapore 

Blood-glucose-strips-recallTHE Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is overseeing the voluntary recall of several lots of defective diabetes test strips by Abbott Laboratories. The pharmaceutical company is withdrawing some of its Abbott MediSense Optium Blood Glucose Test Strips because they give inaccurate low blood sugar results. These affected strips return a low sugar reading, even when a patient’s level has tipped over to the dangerous level. Diabetics could overindulge, thinking their sugar levels are well controlled. 

According to the HSA, Abbott had imported 43 lots of affected strips to Singapore, and each box contains 50 test strips. Dr Stanley Liew, an endocrinologist with Raffles Hospital, said false readings could cause patients whose blood sugar is in control to develop high sugar levels. Over the long term, this increases their risk of diabetic complications that could affect their eyesight or organs. Symptoms of high blood sugar include excessive thirst, excessive urination, blurred vision, weakness, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States started recalling these strips – numbering 359 million worldwide, on Wednesday. They are used with these blood glucose monitoring systems: Precision Xceed Pro; Precision Xtra; Medisense Optium; Optium; OptiumEZ; and Reli-On Ultima. 

The HSA said that patients who have bought the affected strips should stop using them. It added that those who have bought them overseas should check with Abbott to find out if their test strips are from the affected lots. Diabetics who have used the affected test strips should also consult a doctor if they have experienced symptoms of high or low blood sugar, and they should contact their doctors to discuss other testing options, especially if they need to adjust their insulin therapy. According to the FDA, strips exposed to warm weather or prolonged storage are more likely to provide a false result.  

Patients can contact Abbott Laboratories on 1800-272 2881, or e-mail to return affected test strips or for more information

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