Yvette C. Terrie, BSPharm, RPh
Pharmacists can help patients with diabetes select a blood glucose monitor that meets their individual needs.
A blood glucose meter is an essential tool that every patient with diabetes should use, because it provides key information about daily blood glucose levels that will assist in maintaining tight glycemic control. There are a variety of at-home blood glucose meters to meet the needs of all patients with diabetes (Table), even those patients in the pediatric population (eg, Bayer’s DIDGET). Because there are several types of blood glucose meters on the market, the selection of an appropriate meter may be somewhat overwhelming, especially for the newly diagnosed patient.
Pharmacists are in a pivotal position to assist patients in the selection of a meter that best suits their individual needs. Key features that may be considered when selecting a meter include accuracy of test results, size of the meter, sample size required for testing, ease of testing procedure, ability for alternate testing sites, quick testing time and availability of results, ease of portability to allow testing at school and during leisure time, readability of display, memory options, and the cost of meter and supplies.1,2
After a meter has been selected, it is imperative that the patient be comfortable with using the meter and understand the testing procedure to obtain accurate results. Pharmacists should emphasize the importance of adhering to their recommended treatment plan, regular blood glucose monitoring, and establishing healthy eating habits and exercise routines.
Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in Haymarket, Virginia.
1. Choosing a blood glucose meter. American Diabetes Association Web site. Available at: www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/blood-glucose-meters.html. Accessed September 25, 2010.
2. Assemi, M, Morello, C. Diabetes mellitus.In: Berardi R, Newton G, McDermott JH, et al, eds. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs 16th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2009:837-866.
3. Checking your blood glucose. American Diabetes Association Web site. Available at: www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-your-blood-glucose.html. Accessed September 25, 2010.