Not everyone with diabetes leads an active lifestyle and tests often. But my guess is that the readers of this magazine are on the go more than most people and monitor their blood glucose when they are away from home.
If you are in this elite group of active testers, you certainly already have at least one blood glucose meter system. But until now nobody made a meter for you.
Home Diagnostics in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has just begun to market a meter for when you are away from home. In July the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the company its 510(k) stamp of approval for the Sidekick Blood Glucose Test System.
The Sidekick meter is not only the world’s smallest diabetes testing system, but also one of the easiest to use. By my measure, it is about 1 1/4" in diameter and 1/2" thick. It comes together with a vial of 50 test strips, which means that the total package is just 2 1/2" long.
The Sidekick also carries a small price. It will regularly retail for $34.99, but for the next few months Home Diagnostics will offer a $5 rebate, so the net price becomes a remarkable $29.99. That’s for both the meter and 50 test strips — much less than strips alone usually cost.
Another remarkable new feature is that this is the first disposable meter. After testing 50 times, you just throw away the meter and the empty vial, then go to the drugstore for a new Sidekick system.
The company’s product literature says that this is an “all-in-one blood glucose testing system.” Not quite. It doesn’t include a lancing device or lancets.
“Including a lancing device would make it more expensive,” Home Diagnostics spokesman Adam Sohn told me. “Besides, just about everyone already as a lancing device.”
The Sidekick package does include glucose control solution and a pouch. The pouch is big enough for the Home Diagnostics Gentle Draw lancing device — or the even shorter FreeStyle lancing device — as well as a few lancets.
And that’s not all. For a meter system this reasonable, you might not expect the latest technology. But the Sidekick offers the four most important features: a small blood sample of one microliter, alternative site testing on the forearm, test results in less than 10 seconds, and no required coding.
Aside from a cure for diabetes, what more can an active boy or girl want?
Several other companies that make blood glucose monitoring systems are better known that Home Diagnostics. One reason is that this company has focused on selling its meters and test strips through the nation’s large pharmacy chains, wholesalers, and mail-order houses, which often place their own names on the Home Diagnostics products.
Besides the Sidekick system, Home Diagnostics currently sells three other meters. The TrueTrack Smart System is the company’s flagship meter, with all the bells and whistles. The TrackEASE, which is only available through mail service and health care distributors, requires the same one microliter blood sample as the Sidekick and TrueTrack and like those meters returns results in 10 seconds or less, but it lacks a data port.
Home Diagnostics’ fourth meter, the Prestige IQ, offers a large, easy-to-read display for testers with dexterity or visual limitations.
This article originally appeared in Diabetes Health, December 2005, page 50. The company’s website is http://www.prestigesmartsystem.com/
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