Onetouch Ultra Blood Glucose Monitoring System Reviews

Onetouch Ultra Blood Glucose Monitoring System

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There is a better meter; TheraSense FreeStyle

Feb 24, 2004 (Updated May 19, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good lancing device, better than the one with the FreeStyle meter.

Cons:Too fast, and requires more blood than I can easily supply.

The Bottom Line: If you have a choice, get the TheraSense FreeStyle instead. It takes less blood, and reliably tests from alternate sites such as the forearm. More gain, no pain.


I am 60 years old. I was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years ago. Since that time I have used four different meters. The latest one is the One Touch Ultra. I have to use it because my Aetna insurance does not cover the TheraSense FreeStyle that I got when I was insured by Cigna. Aetna supplied me with the Ultra, and it came with a video which claims that the meter uses very little blood. In my experience, the claim is exaggerated. The FreeStyle uses much less; a drop the size of a pinhead or even smaller is sufficient. When I received the Ultra, it came with 9 “vampire” test strips (these strips draw blood by capillary action). I errored out 5 of those strips because, testing on my forearm, I could not supply enough blood to trigger the meter.

As a diabetic, I have problems with my eyes. The TheraSense is a slightly larger meter, so it is easier to handle and view the display. It is also easier to get the edge of the test strip--not the end of the strip as with the Ultra--in the proper position to reliably test from my forearm. I cannot test from my forearm with the Ultra because I cannot get enough blood to fill the strip; instead, I have to test from the meaty part of my hand by a thumb.
The reason I use alternate sites is because I work on a computer keyboard all day. Testing on my fingertips makes them painfully sensitive.

The Ultra is, as others have reported, very fast. In my case, this is not an advantage, because the FreeStyle allows you to prick another site and test there if the first site does not supply enough blood. Another point: The canisters containing the FreeStyle’s test strips have a flat top. When I get ready to take a reading, I lie the strip that I will be using on top of the canister. This keeps them where I can see them and also keeps them from getting contaminated. The Ultra’s canisters are rounded on top, and the test strips are prone to falling off; they don’t balance well.

My first meter was a LifeScan SureStep. This meter required a large drop of blood on what I call a “daub” strip, and I wasted many strips because I could not always draw enough blood to fill the strip’s window.

For awhile, I also used a Wal-Mart ReliOn meter which I purchased for $8.88. I kept it at work so that I wouldn’t have to carry a meter with me all the time. The ReliOn is “no frills” meter; no memory or fancy software. However, I like the calibration strip that comes with that meter; just plug it in, & it calibrates the meter, no messing with buttons. Also, the strips are individually wrapped. They are easy to use and don’t require much blood to activate. I quit using the ReliOn because my insurance would not cover the vampire strips; I had to pay out-of-pocket.

If you have bad eyes, need a little time to test, and do not bleed readily, use the FreeStyle. If you have good eyes, lotsa blood, and are quick as a hummingbird, use the Ultra.



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