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May 20, 2002

Daily Care

Question from Karachi, Pakistan:

I am 15 years old, I was diagnosed with diabetes two years back, and both of my parents have diabetes treated with oral medicine. Can I take oral medication instead of daily injections?

Answer:

I really understand your concern regarding the need for lifelong insulin therapy injected several times a day. The only answer, if you have type�1 diabetes, is that you cannot take any oral hypoglycemic agents instead of daily insulin. You must follow your insulin therapy; this is very important to assure the best metabolic control as early as from the very beginning of the disease and to avoid the late occurrence of chronic complications. This also is the best way to assure the most normal quality of a long life.

You could skip injections and provide insulin through newer devices such as the insulin pump.

In the not too distant future, there will also be implantable pumps with the later hope to ‘close the loop’ and to rely on a safe artificial pancreas. Further into the future, we will probably be able to help people with type�1 diabetes with islet cell transplants, and long-term future will hopefully see the definitive eradication of the disease.

MS