March 29, 2000
Medications: Pills for Diabetes
Question from Fort Myers, Florida, USA:
I have had diabetes for 30 years; I am now 38 and soon to be having my 30 year anniversary with my Type 1 diabetes. I have been told by a doctor that if I take Glucophage [metformin, a pill for Type 2 diabetes] 3 times daily that I will soon enough be able to stop taking insulin altogether. Is this true? I am tired of shooting myself. I am a thin diabetic and not much meat you might say to shoot the insulin into. I would like to quit with the shots if I can. Please let me know if there is something out there that I can ask my doctor about.
No, it isn’t for sure. Medications such as Glucophage could help your body to better utilize insulin but you still need exogenous substitution of the insulin your body is actually not able to produce anymore due to the autoimmune destruction of your beta cells some 30 years ago. Thus far the only way to provide insulin to your body is still through subcutaneous injection, either with syringes, pens or pumps.
Research is underway regarding insulin adsorption through the nose, or lung, as well as by mouth, even though the most difficult obstacle is to reproduce the amount of insulin adsorbed trough those mucous membranes in such a fine tuning type 1 diabetics need. The most promising approach for type 1 diabetes seems to be the lung and we will hear if it works in a relatively short time.