American pharma giant Eli Lilly has launched a program for people with diabetes called “Know Before the Low” with American Idol singer and songwriter Crystal Bowersox.
Bowersox was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six. She speaks about the need for a plan to manage the disease and the importance of a support network in a new disease awareness video. She advices others about the importance of knowing one’s personal signs and symptoms of low blood sugar and making sure that the people around the person with diabetes know what to do if help is needed.
“I learned early on that one of the essential elements of managing my diabetes is to always have a plan in place for low blood sugar,” explained Bowersox. “This means ensuring those around me are ready and able to help in case of a very low blood sugar emergency.
“As a touring musician, my family or friends may not always be around. Because of this, I’m constantly thinking through different scenarios like teaching my crew what to do, and knowing I have a network of people who are empowered to help me stay safe and healthy in my journey.”
About 34 million Americans live with diabetes and are at risk of low blood sugar and low blood sugar emergencies. This is the reason why this campaign is being initiated, to raise awareness about the unpredictable conditions of patients with diabetes.
“We’ve learned that many people with diabetes don’t discuss low blood sugar or low blood sugar emergencies with their healthcare team, friends or family and oftentimes don’t have a rescue plan. This initiative is aimed at encouraging and supporting those conversations, which will help people be more confident and prepared in the case of a low blood sugar emergency,” Stephanie Shelley, US commercial leader at Lilly, said in an email interview with Fierce Pharma.
“Know Before the Low” has an interactive website that allows users to understand further and raise awareness about the issues of living with diabetes. The website can also be used as a conversation starter and help navigate conversations. The tools are designed to help educate people but also prepare them to help and assist people with diabetes.
The website also redirects individuals to a link that connects to a website for Lilly’s low blood sugar treatment, Baqsimi. This is a glucagon nasal powder spray that was approved last summer by the US Food and Drug Administration as the first non-injectable treatment for low blood sugar emergencies.
“For people with diabetes, balancing the highs and lows of blood sugar is part of everyday life. Even with careful monitoring, planning, and preparation, blood sugar can sometimes go low. In the event of a very low blood sugar emergency, the person can become unconscious or unable to treat themselves, requiring the help of someone else for treatment,” said Dr. Gregory Dodell, endocrinologist and member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), in a statement released by Lilly.
“When a very low blood sugar emergency happens, people with diabetes need someone around them to act immediately and effectively,” said Dodell. “That’s why it’s critical for people with diabetes to have a rescue plan and then educate and empower their support network about their rescue plan and when to put it into action.”