MAR 11, 2023 1:19 PM PST

Using blood pressure medications to treat diabetes: how does it work?

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) is a condition where the pancreas makes little to no insulin.1 Insulin is a type of hormone produced by pancreatic beta cells that allows glucose to enter muscle cells to provide energy, stimulates the liver to store glucose as glycogen, and serves many purposes in the human body.2

Learn about Type 1 Diabetes here:

The autoimmune destruction of beta cells in patients with T1DM is the main offender in the disease, and because of this, patients with T1DM require lifelong insulin replacement therapy. Beta cell function is determined by stimulating C-peptide secretion, which is a peptide that is present in normal levels in patients without T1DM and presents in low levels in patients with T1DM.3 Thioredoxin-interacting protein overexpression can cause beta cell death; however, a class of antihypertensive medications, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), could be a possible solution. 

CCBs are used to lower blood pressure, but they were found to reduce thioredoxin-interacting protein expression, which ultimately stops beta cell death.4

A group of physicians and scientists conducted a clinical trial at various institutions across the United States. This clinical trial enrolled participants ages 7-17 years diagnosed within 31 days of randomization. The participants were divided into four groups and either given standard diabetes management and placebo/verapamil or intensive diabetes management and placebo/verapamil. 

The study ultimately found that taking verapamil once a day within 31 days of aT1DM diagnosis slowed beta cell death over 52 weeks in participants. Verapamil is a fairly safe drug, especially in this cohort of younger patients. On top of this, verapamil is a generic drug and is fairly cheap to receive, which is another plus.

The trial results were published in JAMA in February 2023, and it’s gaining traction and publicity. It will be intriguing to see how this trial impacts the standard of care in T1DM.



2 Lucier J, Weinstock RS. Diabetes Mellitus Type 1. [Updated 2022 Jun 9]. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: 

3 Venugopal SK, Mowery ML, Jialal I. C Peptide. [Updated 2022 May 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:  

4 Forlenza GP, McVean J, Beck RW, et al. Effect of Verapamil on Pancreatic Beta Cell Function in Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. Published online February 24, 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.2064

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Greta is currently a writer at Labroots and a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy student, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Innovation is her passion, especially when it comes to pharma, entrepreneurship, science, and art. She is hoping to pursue a career in pharma while also fostering her creative initiatives.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...