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Pharmacy U presenters Pavithra Ravinatarajan and Siva Sivapalan: The pharmacist’s role with GLP-1s in the treatment of diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that impacts over 3 million Canadians. That is approximately 8.8% of the population, further, it is estimated that 6.1% of the Canadian adult population are at high risk of developing diabetes.
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Pavithra Ravinatarajan and Siva Sivapalan will be presenting at Pharmacy U Toronto.

In this session, we will review the latest clinical guidelines on diabetes. We will highlight how to counsel and the needs of a patient-initiated on GLP-1 therapy. Review and outline how to determine when to switch treatments for a patient with diabetes, review CVD risks and how to avoid those for your patient. This session will go through fundamental concepts and newer updated guidelines through interactive case study scenarios and valuable practice pearls to take away from your practice.

Glucogan-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) are something we hear more and more about in the news, having patients inquire about and needing counsel on, but what are they exactly? GLP-1 RAs work like the name implies. They are incretin mimetics that activate the GLP-1 receptor.

They work in three distinct critical ways.

1. activating the GLP-1 receptor initiates insulin secretion from the b-cells in the pancreas. This allows the body to regulate its blood sugar by insulin, moving the sugar in the blood into organs and tissue to be used as energy.1

2. GLP-1 RAs also works by slowing gastric emptying. This can regulate not only blood sugar levels but also support weight loss. Slowing this process of gastric emptying, people are less likely to overeat or indulge. Patients on GLP-1 RA will notice they aren’t as hungry as often and/or unable to eat the same amount as they previously could. This can also account for why some people who start seeing the effects of GLP-1 RAs but have not changed their eating habits may notice nausea (fullness) or vomiting. 1

3. GLP-1 RAs also lowers glucagon secretion by the a-cells in the pancreas. This limits spikes of sugar. 1

There has been a lot of buzz around these drugs, and helping people understand how they work in their bodies is essential. As one of the most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacists are often the primary source of accurate health information for patients. Recognizing candidates, initiating treatment, and monitoring patient adherence are essential areas in pharmacies that play a crucial role. GLP-1 RAs are recommended for people with an appropriate diagnosis and can lead to numerous positive health outcomes when coupled with a diet and exercise guide.



Pavithra Ravinatarajan RPh is the founder and CEO of Pavithra Consulting Inc. Siva Sivapalan is a community pharmacist, preceptor and educator.

Pavithra Ravinatarajan and Siva Sivapalan will be presenting at Pharmacy U Toronto.


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