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Americans Encouraged to Utilize Pharmacists to Control and Combat Diabetes Epidemic

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of American Pharmacists Month, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) encourages Americans to partner with their pharmacists to help combat and control diabetes.


According to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 25.8 million people, or 8.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. In 2010 alone, more than 1.9 million people aged 20 or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes. An estimated 79 million Americans aged 20+, or 35% of the population, have prediabetes. In 2007, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death and cost the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $174 billion. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetes is also a major cause of heart disease, hypertension and stroke.

Among adults with diagnosed diabetes (Type 1 or 2), 84% are utilizing some form of medication therapy – oral, insulin or combination – for treatment. Due to the large number of medications utilized in the treatment of diabetes, a relationship with the pharmacist – the medication expert – can support a patient's disease management success.

Pharmacists can be a great resource for patients with diabetes, especially in medication management. Pharmacists may offer several services to help a diabetic patient better control the day-to-day management of his/her condition. Services may include:

  • Nutrition Management Counseling
  • Exercise and Physical Activity Instruction
  • Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring Advice and Guidance
  • Medication Therapy Management (MTM – Medication check-ups)
  • Healthy Behavior Management and Guidance
  • Health Maintenance Counseling and Guidance: Skin care, foot care, dental care, eye care, proper insulin injection technique, smoking cessation, immunizations and blood pressure monitoring

The APhA Foundation has conducted several studies demonstrating improved test results and patient outcomes when pharmacists are involved in the management and self-care of patients with diabetes. The Diabetes Ten City Challenge was a program that helped patients manage their diabetes on a day-to-day basis by having participating employers provide diabetic employees, dependents and retirees with a voluntary health benefit, waive co-pays for diabetes medications and supplies and provide patients with a specially-trained pharmacist "coach." Conducted in 2007, results included:

  • A1C and lipid panel screening rates increased to 97% and 92%, respectively
  • 91% of patients achieved an A1C within the HEDIS goal and 63% achieved HEDIS-defined lipid control
  • Preventive care increased as 65% of patients received flu shots and 81% received foot exams
  • Average net savings of $1,057 per person per year

Every year, APhA conducts its public education campaign, "Know Your MEDICINE, Know Your PHARMACIST" urging consumers to get to know their pharmacist. Conducted throughout the year, but highlighted especially in October during the annual American Pharmacists Month celebrations, the campaign underscores the link between knowing your pharmacist and the safe and effective use of medications.

Pharmacists work as a team with doctors and other health care providers to optimize care, improve medication use and to prevent disease. To achieve the best outcomes for their condition, patients should maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers. APhA encourages consumers to fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy, get to know their pharmacist on a first name basis, carry an up-date medication and vaccination list and share all medical information with each of their health care providers.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 C6 organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States.

SOURCE American Pharmacists Association
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