Management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the elderly: role of the pharmacist in a multidisciplinary health care team

J Multidiscip Healthc. 2011;4:149-54. doi: 10.2147/JMDH.S21111. Epub 2011 May 25.

Abstract

Intensive glycemic control using insulin therapy may be appropriate for many healthy older adults to reduce premature mortality and morbidity, improve quality of life, and reduce health care costs. However, frail elderly people are more prone to develop complications from hypoglycemia, such as confusion and dementia. Overall, older persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus are at greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than from intermittent hyperglycemia; therefore, diabetes management should always include CVD prevention and treatment in this patient population. Pharmacists can provide a comprehensive medication review with subsequent recommendations to individualize therapy based on medical and cognitive status. As part of the patient's health care team, pharmacists can provide continuity of care and communication with other members of the patient's health care team. In addition, pharmacists can act as educators and patient advocates and establish patient-specific goals to increase medication effectiveness, adherence to a medication regimen, and minimize the likelihood of adverse events.

Keywords: continuity of care; elderly; glycemic control; hyperglycemia; hypertension and cardiovascular disease; pharmacist; type 2 diabetes.