Coagulation Self-Testing - FAQ

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1. What are the advantages of INR self-monitoring?

INR Self-Monitoring:

  • Allows you to be more involved in your treatment, giving you the confidence and the reassurance to maintain control of your anti-coagulation therapy
  • Allows you to test more frequently, which can enable you to spend longer in your therapeutic range, and potentially reduce the risk of complications such as clots or bleedings.
  • Makes it much easier to adapt your therapy more closely to make it just right for YOU
  • Involves no invasive blood sampling: only a drop of blood from the fingertip is required
  • Gives you freedom to enjoy a more independent life – at home, at work – anywhere!
  • Reduces trips to the lab or clinic for testing
2. How often should I test?

Everyone is different, so you should follow your healthcare professional’s advice on how regularly to test. It has been shown that testing once a week increases the time spent in therapeutic range.

3. What is INR (International Normalised Ratio)?

The World Health Organisation recommends using INR as a way to measure and report the results of blood coagulation tests. The International Normalized ratio (INR) was developed by the United Nations and is the globally accepted measurement of the time it takes for your blood to clot.

4. What does an INR value of 1 or 2 mean?

A person who does not take any anticoagulants (oral anticoagulants) typically has an INR value of 1. A measured INR value of 2 means that blood coagulation takes twice as long. Consequently, with an INR of 3, coagulation takes three times as long.

This means that the higher the INR value, i.e. prolonged coagulation time, the more coagulation is inhibited.

5. What does therapeutic range interval mean?

You will be given a therapeutic range by your doctor according to the condition for which you are taking anticoagulants. Within that range you will have a target INR.

The target INR within the therapeutic range is where you will be at the lowest risk for a complication.

For example if your therapeutic range was 2 to 3 then your target INR would be 2.5. It is important to keep within your therapeutic range.

6. Will my CoaguChek meter require maintenance?

The CoaguChek meter and test strips have a number of built-in quality control functions. Because of this we do not provide maintenance for your meter.

We recommend that, every six months, you ask a healthcare professional to take tests in parallel with you on a meter that uses the same technology. The healthcare professional should be enrolled in a UK-recognised external quality assurance anticoagulation programme.

7. Can I use CoaguChek if I’m on other medication?

Many common medicines, including painkillers, antirheumatics, antibiotics, antidepressants, diuretics, laxatives foods naturally high in vitamin K and vitamin K itself, can affect your INR levels. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t take them if you’re self-monitoring. Your healthcare professional will be able to advise you on what you can and can’t combine.

8. How long will I have to wait for my order to arrive?

The standard delivery time is approximately 3-5 working days after an order is placed.

9. How do I qualify for VAT exemption?

If you live in the UK and are taking warfarin long-term you will be entitled to VAT exemption on your meter and strips. You can find out more about this when you get to the online checkout or when you speak to the customer care line. (VAT exemption is not applicable in ROI)

10. Can I pay in instalments?

Provided you pass a standard credit check, you can pay for your CoaguChek meter through an interest-free instalment plan, spreading the cost over 12 or 24 months. Terms and conditions apply. Further information is available on page 11 of the Information Pack 

11. Our 14 day policy

Roche Diagnostics Ltd advise all customers to watch the training video / DVD (which accompanies a meter purchase) before opening the meter box. We operate a 14 day return policy (starting the day you receive the meter) should you wish to return the meter in its original condition (original box unopened and the meter therefore unused), in which case we would issue a full refund.

12. Is it difficult to use a CoaguChek meter?

No. If you can use a mobile phone then you’re unlikely to find self-monitoring any more complicated. Support is offered by Roche Diagnostics (see support section) and your anticoagulation clinic, where self-testing is supported in your area and your anticoagulation clinic.

13. How should I store my test strips?

They can be stored at room temperature for up to 15 months, depending on the expiry date. Keep the lid on the pot shut tightly between uses.

14. How quickly should I use the test strip after removing it from its packaging?

You should use the test strip within 10 minutes from the time you take it from the container.

15. Should I talk to my healthcare professional before I start using a CoaguChek meter?

Yes. Other medical conditions, such as high cholesterol levels, anaemia (low iron levels) and lupus syndrome may sometimes interfere with your results. Check with your healthcare professional before you make any decisions about your health and whether to buy a CoaguChek meter.

16. Are CoaguChek test strips available on prescription?

Yes. CoaguChek test strips are available on prescription. This is at your GP’s discretion, and prescription charges may apply. As with any decision about your health, it’s best to explore your options with your healthcare professional before self-monitoring. If strips are not available on prescription in your area, you can purchase them direct from Roche via the freephone Care Line number 0808 100 7666 or shop.coaguchek.com. Strip packs are available in sizes of 24 or 48 for the XS meter and 24 for the INRange meter.

17. Is self-monitoring as accurate as the INR tests my healthcare professional does?

The accuracy of the CoaguChek meter is equal to that of the equipment used by your healthcare professional.

18. Is self-monitoring suitable for children?

Yes. After a brief training course on self-monitoring, and with support from a healthcare professional, you and your child will enjoy the freedom that self-monitoring offers. As a parent, you must be prepared to take on some of the responsibility for managing their care.

19. How often should I test my INR levels?

Everyone is different, so you should follow your healthcare professional’s advice on how regularly to test. It has been shown that testing once a week increases the time spent in therapeutic range.

20. I think the meter is expensive – are there options available to spread the cost?

Yes, we offer a payment plan that spreads the cost interest free over two years. Terms and conditions apply but you can find out more by calling the Care Line team on 0808 100 7666

21. Can I take my CoaguChek meter with me on a plane?

Please ensure that when flying with the machine, it is always packed in hand luggage along with the relevant test strips and lancets. This ensures you have everything you need to test in case your suitcase doesn’t follow you on the same trip! It is also important as storing the items in the hold of a plane can cause damage to them if the temperature in the hold drops below 20C.

22. When do my Test Strips expire?

The CoaguChek test strips are shipped with a minimum of 12 to 15 months shelf life. The expiry date is displayed on the label of the pot containing your strips. This will be displayed as a month and year – so the test strips will be due to expire at the end of the month listed.

23. Will I receive a new code chip with every pack of test strips?

Yes; you will find a new code chip inside the box with every new pack of test strips. Please ensure that you have removed the code chip from the box and either stored it in a safe place or inserted it into the CoaguChek meter before discarding the outer packaging.

If you receive Test Strips on prescription, please check when collecting from your pharmacy that they have provided you with test strips with at least 12 to 15 months shelf life, and that the code chip is included inside the box.

24. Will my CoaguChek meter require calibration?

The CoaguChek meter has a number of inbuilt system checks. For details, please refer to your user manual. The test strip has an intergrated quality control function for every test. It is recommended that a side by side test of the patient meter with a clinic-based CoaguChek device is conducted every 6 or 12 months. Specific frequency of side by side testing is a local clinic decision.

 

Quality control and system checks with test fluids as used in certain other systems are not required on the Coaguchek XS or CoaguChek INRange meters and are solely for healthcare professional use only.