WASHINGTON – Abbott Laboratories on Wednesday announced a recall of as many as 359 million glucose test strips used to monitor diabetics’ blood sugar because the strips may give false low readings.
The strips may not absorb enough blood quickly enough to give a proper reading, which can lead users to try to raise sugar levels unnecessarily, or to fail to treat elevated glucose levels, the company said in a statement.
The chemically treated paper strips were manufactured at an Abbott facility in the United Kingdom between January and May 2010, according to company spokesman Scott Davies.
Although any inaccuracy in blood sugar readings is cause for concern for diabetics, “this is an error in a safer direction, falsely low rather than falsely high,” said Michael Thompson, a diabetes researcher and associate professor of medicine at George Washington University in Washington.
A false high reading could lead diabetics to overdose on insulin, triggering a dangerous hypoglycemic episode. “This isn’t going to do that,” Thompson said.
The recall involves 359 lots of strips marketed by Abbott’s Alameda, Calif.-based Abbott Diabetes Care unit and are used with Abbott’s Precision Xtra, Precision Xceed Pro, MediSense Optium, Optium, Optium EZ and ReliOn Ultima blood glucose monitoring systems.
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