LloydsPharmacy has issued all its UK pharmacy teams with a guide to diabetes and fasting, to help pharmacists better support patients with diabetes who choose to fast during Ramadan, which begins on the evening of 16 May 2018.
‘Ramadan: diabetes and fasting’, includes minimum and maximum safe blood-glucose levels, and describes the symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycaemia and how these should be treated. It also provides a “fasting risk guide” to help pharmacists identify patients with diabetes who are likely to be at higher risk from fasting.
The guide emphasises that the ultimate decision on whether to fast lies with the patient. “If an individual is advised by their medical practitioner that fasting would be potentially detrimental to their health, then according to Islamic Law for Muslims, their religious authorities and scholars would advocate that the individual should not fast,” said Deep Patel, LloydsPharmacy NHS excellence manager. “However, some people choose to fast regardless, and we wanted to make it clear to our teams that their patients should feel supported in their choice and that their choice is respected by us.”
Deep Patel added that the document “would be a very useful resource to help carry out [a medicines use review] more effectively.”
Mahendra Patel, a member of the English Pharmacy Board, led the guide’s development. “The holy month of Ramadan is soon to be upon us, and for Muslims this involves 29 days of extensive fasting,” he said. “It is crucial that we, as pharmacists, provide adequate support to ensure safe fasting, especially for those with diabetes (as well as other health conditions).”
Mahendra Patel also spoke of the guide’s potential use during medicines use reviews, and said he would be interested to find out whether its use during periods of fasting would correlate to a reduction in preventable GP visits and hospital admissions.
Ramadan: diabetes and fasting was created on behalf of the South Asian Health Foundation and is endorsed by the Muslim Council of Britain and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. The guide can be downloaded here.