July 3, 2012

Pharmacist Counseling Increases Compliance
With Diabetes Injectable Regimen

PhiladelphiaMedication adherence improved 24% with pharmacist-led training and counseling programs for patients prescribed injectable diabetes therapies, according to a study presented earlier this month at the American Diabetes Association's 72nd Scientific Sessions.

The study, Initial Impact of Medication Adherence of Diabetes Injectable Medication Through Pharmacist-Led Injection Training and Counseling, evaluated a nationwide self-injection training program for patients with diabetes. More than 4,500 patients were trained by pharmacists employed by Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain.

"Community pharmacists are well positioned to assist patients in overcoming
medication challenges that lead to non-adherence," the presenters wrote in an abstract (680-P). "This is especially true when working with diabetes patients with more complex medication regimens that may require self-injections."

The study, conducted from May to July 2011, analyzed the patients' initial adherence to evaluate the effect of a pharmacist-led intervention program on patients prescribed liraglutide, marketed as Victoza.

Patients initially were taught appropriate injection technique, side effect management, and the importance of adherence to therapy. A follow-up assessment occurred at the next refill.

The study found that that patients who received two counseling sessions with a pharmacist were 24% more adherent with their treatment regimen after 90 days than a usual care control group, constituting an additional 8 days of therapy.

"Early results suggest that a pharmacist-led training and counseling program for liraglutide improves medication adherence and has an observable intervention dose response," according to the authors.

"Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing chronic conditions in the U.S. today, and medication adherence is particularly important for this population as individuals undergo ongoing treatment regimens," said Jeff Kang, MD, Walgreens senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions. "By providing better, more personalized care to patients, we╒ve demonstrated the ability to improve adherence, which can also reduce costs for the patient, the health care system and, in the end, help people stay well."

Kang said more than 23,000 patients have now participated in Walgreens' diabetes injection training, "demonstrating the widespread patient interest in this type of additional care pharmacists can provide."

U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect