Self-monitoring with blood glucose test strips inefficient use of health-care resources

December 21, 2009

Routine self-monitoring of blood glucose levels by people with type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin is an ineffective use of health resources as the modest benefits are outweighed by the significant cost of test strips, suggest 2 studies in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

In Ontario, blood glucose test strips are the third largest cost for the Ontario Public Drug Programs in 2007/08, accounting for $100 million or 3.3% of drug expenditures. Usage of test strips increased by almost 250% from 76,320 people in 1997 to 263,513 people in 2008. Almost 53% of people aged 65 and over with diabetes received diabetes test strips by 2008. Sixty-three per cent of patients not receiving used blood glucose test strips in 2008.

"In light of the overall costs and questionable benefits of blood glucose self-monitoring in many patients, more focused policy decisions regarding test strips have been proposed in several jurisdictions," write Muhammad Mamdani of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and coauthors in a study on options to reduce test strip usage. They project that expenditures associated with blood glucose self-monitoring will exceed $1 billion in Canada and suggest policy changes could lead to cost reductions.

Explore further: FDA issues alert for glucose test strips

More information: and

Related Stories

Home glucose tests may not help

June 28, 2007

A British study shows patient monitoring of glucose levels may not be essential to controlling type 2 diabetes for those not taking insulin.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose

September 29, 2009

Diabetes patients should always control their own blood sugar values if this leads to improvements in their treatment. This is the view advocated by Michael Nauck of the Bad Lauterberg Diabetes Center and his coauthors in ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.