Health products giant Johnson & Johnson on Monday issued yet another product recall, this one for OneTouch VerioIQ blood-glucose meters sold in the U.S. and other countries.
They're being recalled because when a diabetic's blood-sugar level is dangerously high, they do not provide a warning and instead turn off, or they display an inaccurate reading.
The meters are made by J&J's LifeScan unit, which will issue free replacement meters to all patients.
The company said Monday that the meters being recalled in the U.S. shut down when a patient's blood sugar hits 1,024 milligrams per deciliter. That's an extremely high level requiring immediate medical attention.
It's extremely unlikely that a diabetic's blood-sugar level would get that high. However, if a patient experienced such extreme high blood sugar and did not get prompt treatment or got an incorrect treatment, that could result in a serious health risk or death, according to J&J.
People with diabetes are encouraged to keep their peak blood-sugar level, shortly after a meal, at or below 160 milligrams per deciliter.
When blood sugar stays even a little above that level, over time the excess sugar can damage blood vessels, the heart, kidneys, eyes and other organs, eventually resulting in severe complications such as blindness, kidney failure, leg amputations and premature death. Extremely high, sudden spikes can cause death if not treated aggressively.
Patients can continue using the meter until they receive a new one, the company said.
"Our patients' safety is our No. 1 priority," Dr. Michael Pfeifer, LifeScan's Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement.
J&J said notifications were being sent to an estimated 90,000 active OneTouch VerioIQ Meter users in the U.S., as well as doctors, nurses, pharmacies and distributors. The company is working on an update to the meter to address the problem.
What to do
Patients with one of the meters should contact LifeScan's customer service at 1-800-717-0276 to arrange for a replacement meter or ask questions. Representatives are available from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tucson time Monday through Sunday.