/publications/issue/2005/2005-08/2005-08-9766

New Technology in Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems

Author: Yvette C. Terrie, BSPharm, RPh

There is promising news for the 18 million people in the United States who have been recently diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years. Advances in research are providing new insights into the management of diabetes. New medications and technology are making it possible for individuals with diabetes to live longer and more productive lives.

Blood glucose monitoring remains the foundation of effective disease management. Consistent monitoring and adherence to a physician's treatment plan are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of serious and sometimes irreversible complications, such as blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only 58% of people with diabetes test their blood glucose levels on a daily basis.

Why Regular Testing Is Important

Testing at the recommended frequency is very important because blood glucose levels may vary from high (hyperglycemia) to low (hypoglycemia) throughout the day. Stress, the types of foods eaten, illness, exercise, and medications all can affect blood glucose levels. Frequent testing helps indicate whether a meal plan, medication, and an exercise regimen are working to keep those levels under control

Frequent testing is particularly critical for those using oral medications or insulin therapy to help control diabetes. Fast, accurate blood glucose results help physicians determine the proper amount of medication.

New Technology in Blood Glucose Testing

In May 2005, the FDA approved the newest technology in blood glucose monitoring from Roche Diagnostics, the ACCU-CHEK Aviva blood glucose monitoring system. This unique system allows patients to make every strip count by testing right the first time.

The ACCU-CHEK Aviva system features Intelli- Strip technology, which allows testers to test quickly and easily on their very first try. In fact, the widemouth sample area helps 97% of patients use the strip correctly on their first try, which means less repricking and fewer wasted strips for testers of all ages. Other monitoring systems require frequent retesting, because results are often unreliable. Repricking only adds to the worry and frustration of a frequent tester.

Intelli-Strip technology uses a specially designed wide-mouth sampling area to attract and absorb a tiny drop of blood—just 0.6 microliters. Then, in only 5 seconds, more than 150 automatic checks detect and prevent unreliable results.

The ACCU-CHEK Aviva meter also has some extra features:

The system includes the ACCU-CHEK Multiclix lancet device, which was rated least painful by 90% of testers in a recent study. This lancet device uses a preloaded, 6-lancet drum to eliminate the need to handle exposed lancets and to reduce the chance of accidental finger sticks. It also offers 11 different depth settings, so patients can customize by skin type to minimize contact pain.

This system features a patented, cam-driven technology. This technology controls the path of the lancet in and out of the skin tissue and allows the ACCU-CHEK Multiclix lancet device to give a clean stick every time. The new ACCU-CHEK lancet device eliminates the pain of side-to-side motion common to many spring-controlled lancet devices. Plus, patients can choose from 6 testing sites, including the finger, palm, upper arm, forearm, calf, and thigh.

If you find yourself saying, "I'd test more often if I didn't have to reprick myself each time," "I hate wasting strips," or "I don't like having to handle lancets," the ACCU-CHEK Aviva system featuring Intelli-Strip technology might be the best option for improved compliance.

Taking Control of Diabetes

Managing diabetes requires you to take an active role in your health care. Blood glucose monitoring, combined with guidance from a health care professional, proper medication, and lifestyle changes, will enable better diabetes self-management.

For more information, you should talk to a health care professional or visit the following Web sites:

Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in the northern Virginia area.