By: Brenda Neugent
While you might not immediately recognize the place your pharmacist holds on your list of healthcare providers, two recent studies suggest that your friendly neighborhood druggist could be an excellent line of defense when it comes to managing diabetes.
One study, led by Travis E. Sonnett, Pharm.D., from Washington State University, and Tyler Galloway, Pharm.D., from the Mann-Grandstaff Veteran Affairs Medical Center, both in Spokane, was based on a single case study of a 64-year-old, wheelchair-bound man with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. He had trouble adhering to his insulin regimen, but did take his oral medications as directed. He suffered from peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy, both of which were progressing.
After the patient and his clinical pharmacist met for a one-on-one motivational session to work out a plan to improve his A1c levels, the patient was better able to harness his diabetes symptoms. After 12 weeks that included follow-ups by phone, the patient’s A1c had improved, as had his peripheral neuropathy and vision problems.
“The case described here is considered a success … by virtue of the patient’s goal achievement,” the authors wrote in the case study, which appeared in the October issue of Clinical Diabetes.
The results of another study also suggest that working with a pharmacist can lead to improved health markers for those with diabetes.
Clinical data based on the national program Project IMPACT: Diabetes – a program launched in 25 communities across the United States with disproportionately high numbers of cases of diabetes – found that many participants saw improved levels of A1c levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index.
The data was compiled by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, and found that because patients had one-on-one consultations with their pharmacists, medications could be adjusted to better meet patients’ needs, allowing for improved results.
Pharmacists also provided counseling on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes while collaborating with physicians, diabetes educators, and other healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care, according to the release.
“Everyone with diabetes faces challenges such as adhering to prescribed medications, monitoring blood glucose levels, staying current with vaccines and foot and eye exams, and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Lindsay Watson, RPh, director of applied innovation for the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, said in a press release.
“Working together with pharmacists empowers all types of patients, rich and poor, insured and uninsured, anywhere in America, to take the steps they need to understand and manage their diabetes while living healthier lives.”