Pharmacy stewardship to reduce recurrent hypoglycemia

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2023 Nov-Dec;63(6):1813-1820. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2023.09.002. Epub 2023 Sep 9.


Background: Inpatient hypoglycemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. After a hypoglycemic event, the likelihood of additional episodes increases. The Joint Commission recommends evaluating all episodes of hypoglycemia for root-cause analysis. Studies have shown that pharmacists' involvement with glycemic control protocols can prevent hypoglycemia.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess whether the implementation of pharmacists' real-time assessment of hypoglycemic events using an electronic alert messaging system contributes to the reduction of the number of recurrent hypoglycemia during hospitalization.

Practice description: A community hospital that provides a wide range of health care services. The pharmacy department provides fully decentralized clinical services and team-based specialist services.

Practice innovation: The pharmacist-led hypoglycemia stewardship initiative included a comprehensive review of hypoglycemic alerts received via an automated message. The alerts generated in the electronic health record (EHR) every time a patient's blood glucose resulted in less than 70 mg/dL if there was a documented administration of a hypoglycemic agent 48 hours before the hypoglycemia event. Once the alert was received by the pharmacists via an EHR in-basket, a real-time review was conducted to identify the potential causes of the event and opportunities for therapy modification.

Evaluation methods: A single-center retrospective observational study including a pre- and post-implementation phase from January 1 to June 3, 2020, and January 1 to June 30, 2021, respectively. Continuous data were analyzed using paired and equal variance t test. Noncontinuous data were analyzed using Fisher exact and chi-square test. Descriptive statistics were used to describe distribution and frequency of data.

Results: There was a 5.1% absolute reduction in recurrent hypoglycemic events (P < 0.001) and a 0.6% reduction of severe hypoglycemic days (P = 0.269) in the postimplementation group. The average time to pharmacist intervention was 4 (± 3.5) hours with a 92% acceptance rate.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated the utility of pharmacist-led hypoglycemia reviews in the reduction of recurrent hypoglycemic events in the inpatient setting.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia* / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemia* / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents