Repurposing anti-hypertension drug for type 1 diabetes

A clinical trial conducted in 24 adult patients who had developed type 1 diabetes in the past three months showed that if verapamil was taken alongside insulin, patients required less insulin daily, had fewer episodes of hypoglycemia, and maintained good blood sugar control. Verapamil has been on the market for over 30 years, and according to Shalev, it’s been very well tolerated and has little to no side effects.

Shalev said that since the drug will be used off label, meaning that it will have to be used to treat conditions others than it’s intended for, doctors and patients with type 1 will have to discuss whether it makes sense for them to include the new drug into their treatment plans. Shalev said that although verapamil is only FDA approved for lowering blood pressure, it is inexpensive and widely available to the public. According to goodRx, a 30 capsule of 240mg pills will cost around $26. Verapamil should still be used with insulin, but it will require less insulin.

There has been past studies showing that the drug might improve conditions of patients with type 2 diabetes as well, Shalev said. Moving forward, Shalev and her team want to expand the study to include more patients, especially younger children.

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