Diabetics lives could be at risk after testing strips that measure blood sugar levels have been found to be faulty.
People with type 1 diabetes rely on the strips to tell them when to take their insulin.
However, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today urged diabetics to stop using the test strips immediately as they could give falsely high or low readings, which may be hard to detect.
People with type 1 diabetes should check the lot numbers of their test strips, to check if theirs are among those found to be faulty.
It’s been estimated that more than 260,000 packs of Accu-Check Aviva and Accu-Check Performa strips are affected.
Accu-Check Inform II test strips have also been recalled, but these are only used by doctors and other medics.
Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK said it is vital that diabetics take note of the recall. He said: “It is incredibly important that people living with diabetes are able to rely on the technology that is designed to help them manage their blood sugar, so we’d strongly recommend that anyone using these test strips check their batch numbers and get replacement strips accordingly.
“Inaccurate readings could mean you over or underdose with insulin, which in the short term can cause problems with hyper and hypoglycaemia.
“If you’re worried about your readings, we’d recommend speaking to your GP or a pharmacist as soon as possible.”
John Wilkinson, the MHRA’s director of medical devices, said: “It is important people check their test strips and if necessary seek alternatives as soon as possible.”
“If people have any questions about their blood glucose readings when using these test strips and meters they should speak with their doctor or pharmacist.
“We continue to encourage people to report any issues involving medical devices to the MHRA via our Yellow Card Scheme.”
Some four million people in the UK have diabetes with around 10 per cent of them suffering from type 1 and a falsely high or low insulin reading could prove deadly for a diabetic.
If patients get a false reading, they may inject too little or too much insulin, which can cause the cells in the body to start shutting down.
Dangerously low levels of sugar (too much insulin) in the blood can lead to hypoglycemia, which in severe cases can cause seizures, a coma and even death.
High levels of sugar (not enough insulin) in the blood causes the body to begin to break down fat cells for energy, which can lead to a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.
At the beginning it will cause fatigue, nausea and confusion, but in severe cases can be fatal.
If you find you’ve been using the test strips affected, seek alternative testing methods and return the affected strips to your nearest pharmacy.
If you have concerns about your blood sugar levels the MHRA have advised that you see your GP.