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Continuing to Advance Diabetes Care

Michael Hegener, PharmD, BCACP

Director, Wuest Family Pharmacy Practice Skills Center

Associate Professor of Pharmacy

The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy University of Cincinnati

Now that we are in the Diabetes/Social Determinants of Health progression of FtP, it’s a great time to celebrate the 100thanniversary of insulin’s discovery and showcase the advancements in care that community pharmacists are making for their patients with diabetes on a daily basis.

Prior to the discovery of insulin in 1922 by Frederick Banting, a surgeon, and his student research assistant Charles Best, the prognosis for a diabetes diagnosis was poor. Often those diagnosed were given a life expectancy of days to months. Treatment relied on fasting and calorie restriction, which did not address the underlying cause. It was long hypothesized that the pancreas secreted a substance that controlled sugar metabolism, however it was Banting and Best that were able to extract insulin from isolated pancreatic cells (They called the extract Isletin) and demonstrate the extract’s efficacy – diabetes was no longer considered a death sentence. For this breakthrough they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923.

Through the Diabetes/Social Determinants of Health progression, community pharmacists across the country are also advancing diabetes care. Community pharmacists are reviewing diabetes goals and standards of care with patients, monitoring A1C values, addressing gaps in care, managing comorbid conditions such as hypertension, and more – all while making it an integral part of their daily practice workflow. Diabetes care has come a long way in 100 years and it will surely continue to progress.

Images: Best (left) and Banting (right), child with diabetes before insulin administration (left) and 4 months after insulin use (right) Images source: Wikimedia Commons

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