Diabetes patients receiving injectable drugs are more likely to adhere to their medication regimens with pharmacist-led training and counseling, a new Walgreen Co. study found.


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Walgreens: Pharmacists boost diabetes patient Rx adherence

June 14th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Diabetes patients receiving injectable drugs are more likely to adhere to their medication regimens with pharmacist-led training and counseling, a new Walgreen Co. study found.

Walgreens said Thursday medication adherence improved by 24% in the course of the study, titled "Initial Impact of Medication Adherence of Diabetes Injectable Medication Through Pharmacist-Led Injection Training and Counseling." The research was presented at the American Diabetes Association's 72nd Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia, which ended this week.

The study evaluated Walgreens' first nationwide self-injection training program for diabetes patients prescribed to a self-injectable diabetes medication. For the effort, Walgreens pharmacists trained more than 4,500 patients starting the medication on the proper injection technique, side-effect management and the importance of adherence to therapy. Pharmacists also provided a follow-up assessment at the patients' next refill.

Initial results showed that patients who received two counseling sessions with a pharmacist were 24% more adherent after 90 days and had another eight days of therapy compared with a usual-care control group.

"To date, more than 23,000 patients have participated in the diabetes injection training, demonstrating the widespread patient interest in this type of additional care pharmacists can provide," Jeff Kang, senior vice president of health and wellness services at Walgreens, said in a statement.

Over 25.8 million U.S. children and adults are diagnosed with diabetes, costing the nation's health care system an estimated $174 billion per year, according to American Diabetes Association figures reported by Walgreens. The drug chain also cited a recent study showing that successful diabetes drug therapy can improve medical cost savings by 20%, or an estimated $325 billion, in 30 years.

"Walgreens has nearly 26,000 pharmacists who are clinically trained and uniquely positioned to help patients with diabetes overcome any concerns and fears around self-injection, which can be obstacles to effectively self-managing their condition," Kang stated. "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. 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."

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