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Freestyle InsuLinx Glucose Meter Review

By on June 29, 2013

meter-freestyle-insulinxCurrently, this meter has been recalled. I will keep you posted if it is re-introduced to the market. The Freestyle InsulinX glucose meter was introduced in the United States in 2012. The meter features a touchscreen and allows users to track their insulin dosage, including making custom notations.

The meter also allows you to run various reports showing the relationship between your blood glucose levels and insulin dosage. Besides certain meters that are designed to work with insulin pumps, the Insulinx is fairly novel incorporating insulin dosage recording capabilities.

Interestingly, however, the U.S. version of the Insulinx is a watered down version of the same meter that was introduced in Europe and Canada.

What’s the difference? Does it matter to you? Let’s get into it below.

Key Advantages

  • Touch Screen: Many users complain that the touch screen is a far cry from the screen functionality of devices like the iPhone. Well, the meter is only about $35, so I am going to go ahead and list it as an advantage. If you want a better touch screen buy the IBGstar that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone directly and allows you to use the better screen.
  • Tracks Insulin Doses: As stated above, if you take insulin, then this device allows you to track your dosages AND glucose readings. Again, most meters do not have this option.
  • Test Strip Port Light: This meter comes with a test strip port light. This comes in handy if you are testing at night or in low light situations.
  • Customizable Log Book: You can create up to 11 tags in the log book. For example, one tag could be “Feeling Low.”

Key Disadvantages

Not a Full Featured Version: The biggest gripe with the U.S. version of the Freestyle InsuLinX glucose meter is that it is not full featured compared with the other versions in Europe and Canada. What’s missing? A number of different items are missing, such as the Meal Time Insulin Calculator. This calculator allows you to determine your insulin to carbohydrate ratio.

Apparently, Abbott didn’t even try to get this feature (and others) approved in the U.S. DiabetesMine.com does a good job fleshing out this particular controversy. Essentially, the thought is that the company was probably worried that the FDA either wouldn’t approve them, or that users would mess them up and sue the company.

Test Strips

The meter uses the Freestyle InsuLinx Blood Glucose Test Strips. Abbott doesn’t tout any particular advantage to these strips, unlike other companies who take great pains in saying how advanced the strips are. You can check out current pricing at my Discount Diabetes Test Strips page.

Bottom Line

The InsuLinx fits a very small niche, insulin users who do not use an insulin pump. This niche is even smaller given that the features on the meter have been significantly curtailed in the U.S. version.

If you do not use insulin, then I do not see any reason to buy this meter given the vast amount of better alternatives. If you do use insulin, then you need to decide if keeping track of your insulin dosages on your meter is all that important to you. If it is, great go ahead and buy it. If not, there are better meters out there.

Other Considerations

Because the meter analyzes both insulin and blood sugar, the software is different from the “Co-pilot” software used by the other Abbott family of glucose meters. This software is called Freestyle Auto-Assist and can be used on MAC and Windows based systems.

Before you make your final choice, take a look at some of the screen shots for the software that you can use with the InsuLinx. If you like some of the reports it generates, then using the meter may make a difference for you if you use insulin.

Technical Information

Model
FreeStyle InsuLinx
Auto. Shut Off 2 minutes
Battery Type Three CR2032
Battery Life 3,000 Tests
Alternative Site Testing No
Memory Capacity 495 Tests
Storage Temp. -4 to 140 F
Operating Temp. 40 to 104 F
Result Range 20 to 500 mg/dL
Sample Size 0.3 microliter
Test Time Varies
Weight (battery) 3.3 oz. (yes)
Size (Inches) 2.4 x 3.8 x 0.6
Backlit Display Yes - Touch Screen
Warranty Lifetime
Coding Required No
Software Available Yes