Patient preparing Semaglutide Ozempic injection

(Photo by myskin on Shutterstock)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Living with Type 1 diabetes can be a challenging experience. Patients have to worry about daily insulin injections, manage dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels, and strive to improve their control of blood sugar levels. As a result, they can feel a significant amount of burden daily. However, researchers from the University at Buffalo have recently made an incredible discovery that could enable many patients to reduce or even avoid insulin shots altogether. In their study, researchers found that the popular diabetes and weight loss drug semaglutide can eliminate the need for these injections.

Study authors followed 10 newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes patients diagnosed in the previous three to six months from 2020 to 2022. On average, these patients started with an HbA1c level (a measurement of blood sugar) of 11.7 – much higher than the recommended level of 7.0. The patients were treated with semaglutide, better known as Ozempic and Wegovy. They were given small doses of semaglutide along with their standard mealtime and basal (longer term) insulin injections. This led to excellent results.

“Within three months, we were able to eliminate all of the mealtime insulin doses for all of the patients,” says Dr. Paresh Dandona, chief investigator of the study, in a university release, “and within six months we were able to eliminate basal insulin in 7 of the 10 patients. This was maintained until the end of the 12-month follow-up period.”

Also, the average HbA1c level of these patients dropped from 11.7 to 5.7 within 12 months of the study.

Semaglutide Rx medical pills in plastic Bottle
Semaglutide Rx medical pills in plastic Bottle (Credit: Shutterstock)

The idea of using a Type 2 diabetes medication for Type 1 diabetes is not new. Dr. Dandona and his team have been researching this for over a decade. They have noticed that many newly diagnosed patients still have some insulin-making ability left, and if that’s the case, why not tap into it?

That’s where semaglutide comes in, helping the body use its own insulin more effectively, which in turn can reduce the need for multiple different insulin injections throughout the day. The potential benefits of this new treatment approach are enormous. Patients might get better control over their blood sugar and avoid the highs and lows that can be dangerous. Plus, there’s a bonus! Some patients even lost weight during the study, a welcome result for many.

“We were definitely surprised by our findings and also quite excited. If these findings are borne out in larger studies over extended follow-up periods, it could possibly be the most dramatic change in treating Type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin in 1921,” Dr. Dandona concludes.

In conclusion, while more research is necessary, the future of Type 1 diabetes treatment looks brighter. This could mean a life with fewer injections and more freedom for many.

This study is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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About Alexander Olumese, PharmD

Alexander Olumese is a DMV-based registered pharmacist and medical writer. He has over 10 years of experience with community and hospital pharmacies, as well as over 3 years within the pharmaceutical industry as a medical writer within medical affairs. He has a background in a variety of therapeutic areas. However, he specializes in cardiovascular disease, oncology, pain medicine, and infectious disease.

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