Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Diabetes Center has proved a common medicine Verapamil which has been used to treat high blood pressure since 1981 is effective in balancing diabetic blood sugar levels by enabling patients to produce higher levels of their own insulin. The finding has been confirmed in a human trial.
The human trial identified verapamil as a safe, effective, and promising therapy. This is a groundbreaking finding in the field of diabetes research.
Type 1 diabetes occurs as the result of one's immune system attacking the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin to regulate and maintain optimal blood sugar levels. When beta cells are being destroyed, a person's ability to produce insulin declines, causing blood sugar levels to rise and making the person more and more dependent on external insulin. Verapamil has the effect in promoting the body's own beta cell function, according to the human trial.
The verapamil clinical trial monitored 24 patients age 18 to 45, each over the course of one year. Eleven patients received verapamil and 13 received placebo. All clinical trial participants were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Researchers monitored the placebo and verapamil groups' total daily dose of insulin, the amount of insulin produced, the percent change in insulin production, and their HbA1C levels. The data collected from the clinical trial indicates that individuals with Type 1 diabetes have the promise of a treatment approach that would reduce their external insulin requirements and improve their blood sugar control and quality of life.
The researcher team looks forward to the next phase of human trial, a larger-scaled trial, the researchers plans to test Verapamil effect on type 2 diabetes as well.