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11 - 07 - 2018

Type 1 diabetes: an antihypertensive drug improves patient health

An antihypertensive drug, verapamil, improves the health of patients with type 1 diabetes in a clinical trial, an effect found previously in mice.

 

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In 2012, a publication reported that an antihypertensive agent marketed for decades, verapamil, had the ability to protect insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in vitro in mouse and diabetic patients' cells, and in vivo in mouse models of type 1 and 2 diabetes.

 

The mechanism discovered in vitro in human and mouse cells, was therefore effective in animal models.

 

This work, confirmed by various teams, led to the completion of a one-year, phase 2 clinical trial of 24 patients with type 1 diabetes who had been diagnosed for less than three months and aged 18 years to 45 years old. Eleven patients received verapamil once a day and thirteen a placebo. The results of this test were published yesterday.

 

Verapamil was well tolerated. It has been associated with:

 

      - an improvement in the function of insulin-secreting beta cells

 

      - a decrease in the need for insulin and the number of hypoglycemic episodes.

 

Verapamil is therefore effective in protecting beta cells and decreasing hypoglycaemic episodes in newly diagnosed diabetes.

 

The next trials will focus on patients who have been diagnosed for a longer time, on young patients and also on patients with type 2 diabetes . Indeed, epidemiological studies and studies in mice show that taking verapamil is associated with better control of blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.