Robert Kushner, MD: Addressing the Importance of Lifestyle With Patients Who Have Diabetes, Obesity

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Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) play a crucial role in endorsing lifestyle counseling and facilitating integrative care for their patients.

“The development of semaglutide 2.4 mg weekly injection, and now tirzepatide 5-15 mg weekly self-injection, are the beginning of a whole new change in how we treat diabetes and obesity,” Robert Kushner, MD, Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, said in an interview with HCPLive.

“It's a paradigm shift.”

With new treatments and indications emerging for diabetes and obesity management, he spoke about the implications involved with discerning between which therapy is appropriate for each patient. While the patient or provider may have a preference for one medication over the other, it’s not that simple.

“The bottom line–unfortunately–in this country is access and affordability. Depending upon what insurance you have and the formulary that's covered, they may not cover both of the drugs,” he explained. “Almost all roads lead to this insurance coverage."

"It's a real dilemma and challenge for health care providers and patients alike.”

However, the growing options for, not only treating type 2 diabetes, but also obesity at the same time offers a promising future for treating, and living with these conditions. At Pri-Med Midwest 2022 Kushner educated Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) on how they can ensure optimal management for these patients in his presentation "Weight Matters: Refocusing Diabetes Care in People with Obesity".

While PCPs may be on the frontline of care for this population, the best approach is an integrative one. According to Kushner, a key struggle is addressing lifestyle counseling.

“I think the primary care provider has a key role in bringing up the topic, endorsing the importance of lifestyle, and why lifestyle improvements are necessary, but they may not have the time and adequacy and knowledge to carry out the counseling,” he said.

“That's where a team approach comes in.”

He shares his suggestions for facilitating the team approach in this video. Watch the rest of his interview with HCPLive on the conference floor at Pri-Med Midwest.