Diabetes, A Rural Problem: Underdiagnosis and Suboptimal Treatment

Higher Incidence of Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy When Compared to Urban Locations

An article published earlier this week in Pharmacy Times sheds additional light on the extent of the problem of undertreated diabetes, especially in rural areas. The author, Jeannette Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP, cites a 17% higher incidence of diabetes in rural areas compared to urban locations, with risk factors including lower access to care, poverty, and lack of insurance. Nationally, up to 45% of patients with diabetes also develop diabetic neuropathy, and a data review appearing in the Journal of Pain found that the clear majority of patients treated at a free, pharmacist led clinic in South Carolina did not receive guideline-directed care.

Of 111 patients seen at the clinic, 67% had diabetic neuropathy. Only half had been properly diagnosed by a physician. 20 patients received treatment for their condition, but this care was considered suboptimal when assessed against accepted guidelines, most commonly because of inadequate dosing. The researchers, from the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, suggested that pharmacist intervention might be an effective means to identify more cases of diabetic neuropathy and guide patients in pain to better treatment outcomes.

Read the article on the findings.

The journal article may be read here.

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