Could GLP-1s benefit T1D patients, too?
The popular GLP-1 receptor agonists, originally approved for T2D, may also be beneficial for patients with T1D—at least, that’s what findings from a small study published in NEJM imply.
Results from the small study found that treating newly diagnosed T1D patients with semaglutide drastically reduced their need for injected insulin.
“Within three months, we were able to eliminate all of the mealtime insulin doses for all of the patients,” said lead study author Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, from the Department of Medicine at SUNY, in a news release. “And within 6 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.”
A total of 10 patients at University at Buffalo’s Clinical Research Center were studied from 2020 to 2022. All had been diagnosed in the past 3 to 6 months with T1D. The mean A1C level (an individual’s average blood sugar level over 90 days) at diagnosis was 11.7, far above the American Diabetes Association’s A1C recommendation of 7 or below.
During the study period, researchers also found that the patients’ mean A1C fell to 5.9 at 6 months and 5.7 at 12 months.
“Our findings from this admittedly small study are, nevertheless, so promising for newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes patients that we are now absolutely focused on pursuing a larger study for a longer period of time,” said Dandona.
If findings are borne out in larger studies over extended follow-up periods, Dandona said it “could possibly be the most dramatic change in treating Type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin in 1921.”