Professor Bo Ahrén from Lund University told Sydsvenska Dagbladet that the drug, which improves the body’s ability to produce insulin naturally and stops it from being broken down too quickly, is the biggest breakthrough in decades.
“Theoretically it could mean that all diabetics could stop taking insulin,” he said.
Professor Ahrén has been working on the research for twenty years and the recent trials involved 108 people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Half of them were given a placebo pill and the other half the new medicine.
The group taking the new pill had a 7% lower long term blood sugar level.
“The medicine has an incredibly good effect,” said Professor Ahrén. “Patients feel better when they have a lower blood sugar level. But mainly we can bring down the risk for dangerous follow-on illnesses such as damage to the veins, kidneys and nerves.”
The new pill, which helped nine out of ten patients, apparently has no side effects.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly – known as insulin resistance. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, although it can appear in younger people of South Asian and African-Caribbean origin. It is treated by diet and exercise as well as insulin injections and tablets.
Gunnar Borg from Malmö took part in the trials and although it hasn’t yet been revealed who was taking the pill and who received the placebo, he told Expressen he’s convinced he received the new medicine.
“I felt better and my blood sugar levels went up again when I stopped,” he said.
Marianne Svensson from Stockholm, aged 60, was also positive: “All diabetics want something that will keep their blood sugar levels down.”
A number of pharmaceutical companies are now working on producing the drug which could be on the market within two years.
“With a bit of luck we can postpone the need for insulin injections in people who have recently been diagnosed,” said Professor Ahrén.
Lysanne Sizoo is a certified Counsellor, specialising in bereavement, fertility and cultural assimilation issues. She also runs a support and discussion group for English speaking women. You can contact her on [email protected], or 08 717 3769. More information on www.sizoo.nu.