Updated diabetes guidelines | How they affect you


Be ready to help patients and providers with new ADA recommendations

In brief:

  • The American Diabetes Association (ADA) updated its 2018 treatment guidelines.
  • The new standards affect a wide range of actions, from medication to patient education.
  • By understanding the new guidelines, you can work with providers and patients to ensure better care.

New recommendations from the American Diabetes Association for treating patients with diabetes may lead to changes in medication, monitoring, education and more.

The ADA’s 2018 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes includes several changes that can affect pharmacies. These include the support pharmacies offer in educating patients and providers. Examples include:

  • Heart disease. For heart disease patients with type 2 diabetes who aren’t meeting their glycemic targets with lifestyle changes or metformin, the new guidelines recommend a drug such as Victoza or Jardiance.1 These medications have been proven to reduce cardiovascular risk or mortality.
  • Older adults. The new guidelines call for individualizing therapy for older adults to simplify drug regimens and reduce risks such as hypoglycemia. Your expertise as a pharmacist can be particularly valuable in this area.
  • Monitoring at home. Patients with hypertension should monitor their blood pressure at home. The goal is to improve medication use and identify discrepancies with readings taken at the doctor’s office. As a pharmacist, you can assist by teaching patients how to accurately take their blood pressure at home.
  • Technology in education. In addition to individual and group support, the new guidelines call for using technology in diabetes self-management education and support. You should start by reviewing your diabetes education program and look for ways to upgrade it.

Other changes include recommendations for:

  • Testing overweight youths with risk factors for diabetes.
  • Decreasing to 18 the age for continuous glucose monitoring for adults with type 1 diabetes.
  • Taking low-dose aspirin after the first trimester of pregnancy to reduce pre-eclampsia in women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes.

ADA plans to update the Standards of Care throughout the year. For your convenience, it will offer an app that will include the guidelines as well as tools such as a diabetes risk calculator.

To ensure that your pharmacy is prepared to offer the best care to patients with diabetes, stay up to date with ADA’s standards. Consider meeting with expert providers in your community to discuss and fully understand the new guidelines and how they are relevant for your pharmacy and patients that you serve.

Work with your staff to determine how to talk with patients about the new guidelines and how to improve their diabetes management.

1 “ADA 2018 Standards Address Diabetes Drugs with CV Benefit,” Miriam E. Tucker, Medscape, December 8, 2017. LINK
Note: The information provided here is for reference use only and does not constitute the rendering of legal or other professional advice by McKesson. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for advice and assistance prior to making important decisions regarding their business. McKesson is not advocating any particular program or approach herein. McKesson is not responsible for, nor will it bear any liability for, the content provided herein.