Blood Pressure Medication Found Effective as Type 1 Diabetes Therapy

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By : Suvarna Sheth

Human clinical trials reveal a common blood pressure medication may be a safe and effective therapy for type 1 diabetes.

It’s the first drug that has been shown to affect the course of type 1 diabetes, which is caused by the body’s destruction of its own pancreatic cells.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Diabetes Center published results of phase 2 trials yesterday in Nature Medicine.

The therapy, verapamil, was found to reduce the need for insulin and hypoglycemic episodes in adults with recently diagnosed Type 1 diabetes.

Verapamil is a drug that lowers blood pressure.  The drug has been used as a calcium channel blocker mainly in the treatment of high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Preclinical tests in mice have shown that the drug could help preserve insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and actually reverse diabetes in some of the animals.

The researchers conclude that “addition of once-daily oral verapamil may be a safe and effective novel approach to promote endogenous beta cell function and reduce insulin requirements and hypoglycemic episodes in adult individuals with recent-onset T1D.”