Counseling Patients on Their Diabetes Medication

The number of people with diabetes has soared in recent years and probably will continue to rise. reported in 2013 that more than 26 million people have Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. (8.3 percent of the entire population), while an additional 79 million people are pre-diabetic (thus increasing their risk of developing the disease).


It follows then that pharmacists will be counseling hundreds – if not thousands – of diabetic patients throughout their pharmacy career.


Counseling diabetes patients on the proper use of their medications as well as needed lifestyle and diet changes can go a long way to helping patients adhere to their medication regimen (a 2012 study conducted by Walgreens found that a pharmacist-led counseling and training program increased adherence by 24 percent).


Read below for tips on how to counsel these patients on the proper use of their diabetes medication.


  • A good part of your work with diabetic patients will be making sure they understand how properly taking control of their condition – and that includes taking their medications – can help lower their increased risk of premature death and illness.
  • You’ll need to advise patients on how to deal with possible complications, such as neuropathic disorders in feet.
  •  As you speak with a patient, ask open-ended questions. These are questions that don’t solicit a “yes” or “no” answer, but instead lead to conversations.
  • Work toward empathy in your responses, particularly with new diabetic patients. They’re undoubtedly overwhelmed with their diagnosis as well as with the requirements of their new lifestyle. Comments such as, “I know how overwhelming a diagnosis of diabetes can be.” And then wait silently for an answer.
  •  Verify with the patient that he or she understands instructions. For example, after you tell a patient how to take a medication and how often, ask the patient “How often will you take this medication?” This lets you check that the patient understands the instructions and lets you correct misunderstandings.
  • Work to speak in laymen’s terms, not with pharmaceutical jargon.
  •  Make sure you have enough time to be with each patient; keep distractions at bay and don’t look at your watch or the clock.

If you’re a pharmacist or pharm-tech looking for new opportunities, take a look at the many open positions we have here at Rx relief®. If a position interests you, send us your resume/CV. We look forward to hearing from you.