A Pharmacist's Guide to OTCTherapy: Blood Glucose Monitors
Blood Glucose Monitors
In order to successfully manage diabetes and prevent complications, it is imperative that diabetic patients achieve tight glycemic control. The proper selection of a blood glucose meter can assist them in effectively monitoring blood glucose levels and thus enable them to maintain the desired glycemic control. Pharmacists can inform patients about the various brands and types of blood glucose monitors available for self-management and can help them find a meter that best suits their needs.
Selecting the most appropriate meter requires taking into consideration various factors, including accuracy, monitor size, blood sample size and the capability for alternate site testing, flexibility, and features for the visually or hearing impaired, as well as an easy-to-follow testing procedure. When recommending a blood glucose monitor to a patient, pharmacists should ensure that the patient thoroughly understands how to use the monitor.
Pharmacists also have the opportunity to reinforce the importance of all aspects of diabetes management, such as following a proper diet, adherence to prescribed medication, and implementing routine self-monitoring of blood glucose, as well as preventing or reducing the incidence of complications by establishing routine care of the eyes, feet, and skin. In addition, pharmacists can offer support to patients who are diagnosed with diabetes by making them aware that the disease is manageable and that the use of a glucose meter is an effective and fundamental tool for gaining control of the disease. For more information on glucose meters, please visit the Web sites of the various manufacturers or the Web sites for resources for diabetes care and management.
Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in Haymarket, Va.