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September 20, 2005

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Question from Elkins, West Virginia, USA:

My five year old daughter is a type 1 diabetic. She has been on Sulfatrim pediatric a couple of times for urinary tract infections. Every time she is on this medication, her blood sugars remain very normal, between 100 and 140 mg/dl [5.6 and 7.8 mmol/L]. I know Sulfatrim is in the family of diabetic medications used to treat type 2 diabetics, so, why don't they use this medication on type 1 diabetics? Also, since it does regulate her blood sugar levels,is it possible she is a type 2, instead of a type 1 diabetic? She is not overweight. I have come across a web site about Allbaid used to treat diabetes. It states that it can cure type 1 diabetes essentially by attacking the gene that causes it. It then allows the pancreas to heal and regenerate beta cell function. Have you heard anything on this product and what is your opinion on it?

Answer:

I have not heard about any material to “treat the gene” that causes diabetes. And, since most cases of type 1 diabetes seem to be caused by an AUTOIMMUNE response, I don’t think that a “gene strategy” in that manner would work. Yes, there are certain genetic predispositions to the development of type 1 diabetes, but these do not “cause” diabetes, per se.

As for your daughter’s use of Sulfatrim, this is an old antibiotic that contains sulfamethoxazole and trimethaprim. The older oral insulin secretagogues are sulfonylureas. The only thing really similar between them is that they contain sulfa. So, they really are not within the same family. (e.g. Sulfuric acid contains sulfa too, but is also unrelated to these medications.)

DS