Today Bayer Diabetes Care launched the A1CNow SELFCHECK that we can use to check our A1C level at home. Finally.
Many of us have been waiting for years. In September 2006 I wrote here that we would have it "soon." Then, a year ago at last year's convention of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco a Bayer spokesperson told me that next year they plan to sell it over-the-counter in three-packs. Now that the SELFCHECK is finally available online, the two-pack version is even better for us.
Until now, if you wanted to use the A1CNow, you had to buy the commercial version. The problem with that version is that we don't need to use all of its 10 cartridges within their one-year expiration date. Since the A1C test measures our average blood glucose level over the previous two to three months, our doctors generally recommend two to four A1C tests each year.
"Some patients will skip having their A1C tested because they're worried about what their healthcare provider will say if their A1C levels are not good," said Steve Edelman, MD, founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes. "A1CNow SELFCHECK is a new tool that allows people with diabetes to test their A1C level in the comfort and privacy of their own home, to get the information they need to manage their disease in-between health-care provider visits."
Just as important, Bayer finally got the A1CNow certified. Last month the NGSP (formerly the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program) certified the A1CNow as having documented traceability to the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial reference method, which established relationships between A1C levels and risk for complications of diabetes. The DCCT method is the gold standard for reliable A1C testing. For more information, please see the 1999 article I wrote for the American Diabetes Association. A Bayer representative told me yesterday that the this certification applies to the SELFCHECK as well.
The Appraise Diabetes A1c Test from Heritage Labs in Olathe, Kansas, is the only other certified way that we use to can check our A1C at home. However, it requires us to mail in a dried blood spot specimen. I wrote about the Appraise here in "A Better A1C Test" last November.
The New Way to Check A1C at Home
With the A1CNow SELFCHECK we will have our result available in five minutes. The test requires a 5 microliter drop of blood. Its cartridges have a 15-month shelf life.
Bayer says that the suggested sale price of the two-cartridge SELFCHECK is $29.99, or about $15 per test. Right now the only online outlet they list is Walgreens, which says that they will have it in stock on Monday. Bayer tells me that they expect to have it available in retail outlets next year.
I used the commercial version of the A1CNow many times. So I know that the new A1CNow SELFCHECK was worth the wait.