New Abbott FreeStyle Test Strips

by Leighann on August 23, 2010

I saw this press release a few months ago announcing Abbott’s new FreeStyle test strips which use a small sample and will work in all their meters without coding.

We use the OmniPod PDM and also a Freestyle Flash (which they just replaced with a FreeStyle Freedom when I called for one).

Word on the street (actually word in my driveway and then on Facebook) is that they are becoming available in the US and some people are automatically getting these as they refill prescriptions.

Have any of you received these new strips with ZipWik? Are they in fact working in meters that previously used the FreeStyle (not FreeStyle Lite) strips such as the Flash, Freedom, and OmniPod PDM? Does the meter automatically know that it doesn’t need to ask for the code?

We haven’t had many issues with FreeStyle Lite and FreeStyle test strips in two plus years. Abbott’s customer service has been great the couple of times I have called with a problem or question about the actual functioning of the test strips. Each time I called they diligently asked me for lot numbers, expiration dates, if we had high or low blood sugars as a result of test strip error, etc.

The only real issue I guess is that our six-year-old can’t easily get her blood onto the test strip by herself. But she can talk anyone through it. I hope that these new strips are easier for her to use.

I’m always looking for improvements in all the products we use for diabetes management and hope these are an advance.

FreeStyle Test Strips

Press Release:

Abbott Introduces New, Easier-to-Use and More Accurate Line of FreeStyle Test Strips in Europe

New FreeStyle® and FreeStyle Lite® Test Strips Offer a Better Testing Experience and Minimize Interference

  • ±15 percent of the true glucose value for glucose values equal to or greater than 5,6 millimoles/liter (mmol/L); and,
  • ±0,56 mmol/L of the true glucose value for glucose values less than 5,6 mmol/L.

May 14, 2010

Stuttgart, Germany — Abbott (NYSE: ABT) today announced European availability of its new generation of FreeStyle® and FreeStyle Lite® blood glucose test strips at the 45th Annual Meeting of the German Diabetes Society (DDG). The new FreeStyle line of test strips features a new, easier-to-use ZipWik* design tapered test strip that offers a better blood glucose testing experience. The new test strips are designed to ensure faster blood application, to reduce the number of error messages and wasted test strips, and to deliver a significantly improved level of accuracy.

“The new FreeStyle line of test strips represents Abbott’s latest success in delivering innovative products for people living with diabetes,” said Heather L. Mason, senior vice president, Abbott Diabetes Care. “By providing a better testing experience and achieving greater levels of accuracy, Abbott is delivering on what patients and health care professionals demand in diabetes care, especially for people who use insulin to manage their diabetes.”

The new FreeStyle line of test strips is compatible with all FreeStyle blood glucose monitoring systems,eliminating the need to switch meters. The new test strips also offer all the same benefits FreeStyle users have come to expect, specifically: no-coding required, the world’s smallest blood sample size and virtually pain-free testing.

New FreeStyle Line of Test Strips Achieves New Level of Accuracy

The new FreeStyle line of test strips is the most accurate ever produced by Abbott and capable of meeting a tighter accuracy standard than exists today.

The new test strips produce finger-stick blood glucose test results such that 95 percent of results fall within:

This improved level of accuracy provides added confidence for health care professionals and people with diabetes when managing diabetes and dosing insulin.

The new FreeStyle and FreeStyle Lite test strips do not use the GDH-PQQ enzyme, which can be affected by common non-glucose sugars. The new FreeStyle line of test strips uses the GDH-FAD enzyme, which is unaffected by common non-glucose sugars, such as maltose or galactose, and minimizes the potential for interference.

European CE Mark (Conformité Européenne) approval for the new FreeStyle and FreeStyle Liteblood glucose test strips was obtained in October 2009. The new test strips are now available to customers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Over the coming months, the new strips will be available to customers in Australia, Israel and Norway. Abbott submitted 510(k) applications to the FDA in August 2009 for the new FreeStyle and FreeStyle Lite test strips.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Renata August 23, 2010 at 6:11 am

I don’t think we will get the new test strips for a few years…sadly they just brought the Freestyle meter to NZ. We have always used Freestyle. I am sure you have noticed, but just in case…you mentioned your little one has problems getting blood on the strip. We found out that if you barely touch the strip to the blood it works much easier and faster. I guess it needs a bit of “air” to be able to suck it up. If you put it into the blood drop it struggles a bit. I hope that makes sense.

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2 Leighann August 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

Renata- Maybe we could smuggle you some :)

Thanks for the tip. She can talk people through it and can do all the steps but that last one. I really want to get her self-sufficient on that soon. Not that she’s ever alone without an adult to help, but it will be good for her.

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3 Penny August 23, 2010 at 6:57 am

Hey there – I hadn’t seen or heard about them until now. We are do for a refill in about a month and half and I will have to let you know if we get them as our refill. I have never had a problem with the FreeStyle regular strips. Before the PDM of the OmniPod we used Freestyle Lite strips and again, no problem. Maybe they have improved upon what I thought was already a good product. Thanks for the news!

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4 Leighann August 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

Penny- I agree, I have really liked the FreeStyle line of meters (except that they aren’t Mac-compatible) and have never really had issues. Just for simplicity, I would prefer no coding…not a big deal for me, but for caretakers not to have to remember that step.

When you get the new strips, please let me know if you notice an improvement.

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5 sisiay August 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Interesting. When I called to get a new Flash, I was told that they were just sending out Lites. So I have switched over exclusively to those. The no coding works fine there, and I can count the number of errors I’ve gotten on one [slightly bloody] hand (of course all of the Lite strips are no-code, as opposed to the earlier Freestyle strips). Interesting that they are still developing new strips for meters that they seem not to be supporting much (at least when I called). Maybe it has to do with the OmniPod, though I suspect Pod users are a tiny fraction of the Freestyle user base.
On a side note, I love the names they come up with for their technology. ZipWik? Say that five times fast!

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6 Leighann August 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Sisiay- When I called to get another Flash they offered me the Freedom (which is much bigger, btw).

Maybe once all the current test strips are used up and off the market, they will only offer the FreeStyle Lite.

I loved the Lite meter and only switched to the Flash when we got the OmniPod since I wasn’t going to have both kinds of test strips.

It’s my understanding that the new test strips with ZipWik will work in ALL their meters. If that’s the case and they work with the OmniPod, I will definitely get my hands on some Lite meters again.

All of our old Lite meters are now being “played” with by the kids to treat the stuffed animals and dolls.

PS- I tried typing ZipWik quickly five times to be funny, but gave up!

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7 ERIC August 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I just started using Freestyle strips,I think there terrible.I have used novo/bd teststrips for years,they were perfect.New issurance and my omnipod caused me to switch to freestyle.I have to poke myself numerus times,bleed all over before I finally get it to read.Ive ben testing for 22years,type 1 so Im aware of how to test.The frrestyle strips have a probelm accepting blood asmple,big or small.I dont think testing should be complicated!!!Hate Freestyle strips but forced to use

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8 Kellee September 1, 2010 at 12:12 am

Leighann,
I hope Abbott’s latest test strips are an improvement! My 9 year old daughter has also struggled with the Freestyle meter. I believe it is a hand dexterity issue; she often smears the blood droplet. It is easy to do especially when she is hitting a low. I do not have a lot of confidence in the Freestly Lite or Flash. We have tried both and we get results that are substantially different than the Accucheck or Onetouch meters. I think with their strips the blood droplet is more easily drawn up the strip’s channel. However, since we have just gone to the Omnipod, it would be very nice to rely on the PDM’s built in meter. I am skeptical though when her Accucheck reads a 47 and her PDM an 86 with the same blood droplet. It would be nice to consolidate our diabetes equipment.

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9 Don Lloyd October 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Leighann,

I just found your website on google when looking for information on the new tapered lite test strip.

With a Freedom Lite meter, a new prescription with the tapered test strip left me confused.

First, the test strip cans (peach colored) showed a code number of 16. This caused me to think that they had gone back to coding. But support finally said that this was just a default code with no further explanation. After reading this post, maybe this is to allow the use of older, coded meters.

Secondly, according to support, this new test strip no longer supports forearm testing. This sounds nuts to me, but maybe an improved accuracy spec can’t be met.

It seems to work fine so far, and is definitely faster and easier to use.

Thanks, Don

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10 Greg Ketell November 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

These new strips are not approved for use with the Omnipod. People are seeing reading differences of over 70 points from the older style strips.

From Abbott’s email to their customers (that only some people received):
“Abbott Diabetes Care received FDA clearance for its NEW FreeStyle Test Strips. New and improved FreeStyle Blood Glucose Test Strips are intended to be used with FreeStyle (also known as FreeStyle 3 and FreeStyle 5), FreeStyle Freedom® and FreeStyle Flash® blood glucose meters only.”

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11 Ralph G. Boehm November 26, 2010 at 11:58 am

Bait and Switch
I saw their ad, and sent in for a free meter, it came with the
‘new’ test strips, and I was quite pleased with the amount of
blood needed, as I test on my arm. I was using the Bayer vacuum
lancer, worked fine for getting enough blood for normal strips.

With the Freestyle lite strips, could use theirs. But then I got
a prescription filled, and it was their ‘old’ test strips, which I didn’t
even know existed. Back to the Bayer….
To me this is a bait and switch, call to Abbott and got an argument with them, the moron insisted that the strips were identical.
Apparently he never used the strips. So if you get the meter check with your pharmacist before getting test strips, if they don’t have them try someplace else.

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12 Ken October 24, 2011 at 11:32 am

The Omnipod PDM does not use the new test strips, they are not FDA approved, as of Oct 2011. We have been unable to find them else where and Omnipod, while sorry says, use a different meter and enter the number into the PDM. My questions is, while we like the Omnipod, why would we get it, if we can’t really use it.

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13 Leighann October 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Many people *are* using the new strips with the PDM even if there hasn’t been official FDA approval yet.

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14 Ken October 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

that is what I heard also, we will run a side by side test for our own satisfaction, but have seen conflicting blog posts about them running nearly the same, blut also with wide differences …

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