Protect patients with prediabetes


What your pharmacy can do to prevent diabetes

In brief:

  • Diabetes and prediabetes are epidemics affecting 1 in 3 Americans
  • Your pharmacy can help prevent prediabetes from developing into diabetes
  • Learn how a pharmacy in Oklahoma is leading the way in assisting patients with diabetes
  • On Diabetes Alert Day, March 24th, create awareness of how your pharmacy can help

The Diabetes Epidemic

More than 30 million Americans, about 10% of the population, have diabetes. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US and the health system spends more than $325 billion on diabetes care.1

Health Mart has extensive information and resources to assist you in serving patients with diabetes.

The Huge Wave of Prediabetes

You are already aware of the magnitude of the diabetes epidemic and are already serving many patients with diabetes. Yet, as large as the diabetes epidemic is, it is dwarfed by prediabetes, as 86 million Americans have prediabetes – three times the number with diabetes.2 This includes 1 in 4 young adults.3

Prediabetes Defined:

  • Hemoglobin A1C of 5.7%-6.4%,
  • Fasting plasma glucose of 100-125 mg/dL or
  • Plasma glucose measured 2 hours after a 75 gm glucose load of 140 to 199 mg/dL

Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t even know they have it. Individuals with prediabetes are at increased risk to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.4

Preventing Diabetes

The good news is that it is possible to dramatically reduce the risk of prediabetes developing into diabetes. Per the CDC, through lifestyle changes – like modest weight loss and physical activity – individuals can reduce their risk by 58% to 71%.5

How Your Pharmacy Can Help

There is a great deal your pharmacy can do to help patients with prediabetes reduce their risk of developing diabetes. You can:

  • Raise awareness about the prevalence of the dangers of diabetes and prediabetes. A good opportunity to raise awareness is Diabetes Alert Day on March 24, 2020. Use Diabetes Alert Day as a wake-up call for patients. Create awareness through social media, signage and promotion. The NIH has tools including flyers, social media content and resources for professionals and patients. If you are a Health Mart pharmacy, you can visit the Marketing Hub for templates to help you promote.
  • Screen patients to identify who may be at risk. Use this online Diabetes Risk Test to identify who may be at risk for diabetes. The CDC also has a Prediabetes Risk Test. Work with patients to conduct these assessments on a computer, tablet or phone and refer at-risk patients to physicians.
  • Educate and coach patients to make lifestyle changes. For most patients, the key to preventing diabetes is lifestyle changes related to diet, activity, smoking cessation and stress reduction. Pharmacists are already experts at coaching patients in these areas. Most patients at risk of prediabetes would benefit from this coaching.

Because community pharmacies are well positioned to coach patients, the CDC is encouraging pharmacies to take part in the National Diabetes Prevention Program. CDC offers a range of resources, including curriculum for the PreventT2 lifestyle change program.

PreventT2 Case Study: Conrad-Marr Drug

Conrad-Marr Drug in Yukon, Oklahoma, will be one of the first pharmacies in its area to offer the PreventT2 program. The pharmacy in a suburb of Oklahoma City already serves many patients with diabetes and recognized that prevention is a great way to keep patients healthy.

Pharmacy technician Kristen Thomas is taking the lead for Conrad-Marr. She already has experience working with patients who have diabetes and has now completed online training for PreventT2 program. “It’s a natural progression,” she said of the pharmacy’s plan to extend its offerings to diabetes prevention.

To recruit patients, the pharmacy is using a combination of methods: signs, bag stuffers, flyers, social media posts and visits to provider offices to explain this lifestyle coaching program. The PreventT2 program offers templates a pharmacy can customize to recruit patients, including flyers to explain the program and a referral form for providers to complete.

Conrad-Marr plans to offer PreventT2 for free to its first patient cohort, but plans to bill insurers in the future. Medicare Part B covers diabetes prevention for eligible patients, as do some commercial plans. Employers and individuals may also pay out of pocket.

Following the guidelines for the PreventT2 program, patients will meet in person once a week for the first six months and then once or twice a month for six months.

As part of the program, patients keep a weight log, food log and fitness log, as well as an action plan journal. “It’s not a diet,” Thomas explained, but a program to kick bad habits and learn how to develop new ones. “I’m excited about doing it along with them,” she said. “Offering the diabetes prevention program to keep our patients healthy is an extension of the relationships we already have.”

Check out the CDC’s “Rx for the National Diabetes Prevention Program: Action Guide for Community Pharmacists.”

1Statistics About Diabetes,” American Diabetes Association, accessed February 10, 2020.
2Prediabetes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes,” CDC, January 8, 2020.
3The Big Number: 24 Percent of Young Adults May Have Prediabetes in the U.S., Study Shows,” Linda Searing, Washington Post, January 6, 2020.
4Prediabetes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes,” CDC, January 8, 2020.
5Prediabetes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes,” CDC, January 8, 2020.