August 31, 2003
Question from Ohio, USA:
My 17 year old son, who has had type 1 diabetes for 13 years, now has heart disease. Have you heard anything about the saliva of the gila lizard for treatment?
There are indeed ongoing clinical trials of Exenatide (synthetic version of the naturally occurring Exendin-4) in type�2 diabetes, and there are proposals for similar trials in type�1. (See Fineman MS, Bicsak TA, Shen LZ, Taylor K, Gaines E, Varns A, Kim D, Baron AD. Effect on glycemic control of exenatide (synthetic exendin-4) additive to existing metformin and/or sulfonylurea treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Aug;26(8):2370-7.) One would suppose that its primary effect in enhancing insulin action would not be of special value in established type 1 diabetes, whereas the other action in suppressing inappropriate glucagon secretion might be beneficial, rather on the same principle that [metformin supplements may enhance control in insulin dependent diabetes.
It is likely to be several months or years before this new drug is proved of value and becomes available for clinical use. In the meantime, your son needs to do all he can with conventional means to keep in the best possible control.
Additional comments from David Mendosa, A Writer on the Web:
I have written about this several times. My first article, The Monster Drug, gives some interesting background that you won’t find anywhere else.
Additional comments from Jane Seley, diabetes nurse specialist:
We recently answered another question about this.