Don't use smartwatches and rings that claim to measure blood sugar without needles, the FDA warns

It can't be done yet, folks.


The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued a safety communication warning people to stay way from smartwatches and smart rings that claim to measure blood sugar levels without pricking the skin. “The FDA has not authorized, cleared, or approved any smartwatch or smart ring that is intended to measure or estimate blood glucose values on its own,” the agency wrote in the communication, and asked consumers, patients, and caregivers to stay away from such devices.

Non invasive blood sugar monitoring isn’t currently possible on any consumer device Popular wearables like the Apple Watch and the Oura ring can, instead, pair with FDA-authorized wearable devices like the Dexcom G7, which uses needles to read your blood sugar levels. Getting a smartwatch or a smart ring to monitor blood sugar levels without penetrating the skin would represent a huge medical advance, allowing people with diabetes, for instance, to stop pricking themselves each day, and alerting pre-diabetics.

Both Apple and Samsung have reportedly been working on the tech for years. Last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s no-prick monitoring was at a “proof-of-concept stage” and could come to the market once the company managed to figure out how to shrink its size. Apple has been working on the project since 2010, although it will likely still be years before the technology is small enough to be built into the Apple Watch. Samsung, too, is exploring ways to build the technology into the Galaxy Ring, a product that the company recently announced.

Until that time, be skeptical of any device that claims to do this right now. Current smartwatches and smart rings “do not directly test blood glucose levels,” the FDA writes. If you spot any company selling a device with these claims, you can report it to the FDA through the agency’s MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form.