Do Diabetic Test Strips Expire?

Have you ever noticed the expiration date on a box of diabetes testing strips? Why is that even there — how could a test strip possibly expire, isn’t it basically just paper? What most people don’t realize is there’s far more than meets the eye when it comes to one of these critical testing supplies. Do they expire — and if so why?

The short answer? Yes! They absolutely can and do expire so make sure you heed the date printed on the packaging. Why? That’s due to the enzymes added to the strip that interact with the sugars in a blood sample and allow the machine to produce a reading. Without these enzymes, testing blood sugar levels wouldn’t be possible. The problem arises over the fact that enzymes start to break down and decay over time and become less viable. Using an expired strip in a pinch is okay and probably won’t end in disaster, however it shouldn’t become a habit as incorrect blood sugar readings can have dangerous — even deadly — side effects.

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