Medical Moment: The once-a-week insulin shot for diabetes

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST
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(WNDU) - Diabetes has been called the largest epidemic in human history. More than 37,000,000 Americans are currently living with it right now.

7,000,000 people rely on a daily insulin shot to manage their condition.

Now, a breakthrough in the diabetes world may simplify the future of diabetes treatment.

“If you went somewhere, you had to take your glucose monitoring kit with you,” Chris Sheridan said.

48-year-old Chris Sheridan was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes 20 years ago, and has been checking his glucose levels every day for years.

“I had to give myself a shot every day,” Sheridan continued.

Chris had to remember to take his insulin while working on his Jeep, and then, making sure he has it when he’s in the middle of nowhere. Then, Chris was offered to be part of a clinical trial that would allow him to take only one insulin shot a week.

“It is taking the same, a molecule of insulin, a human insulin, a synthetic human insulin, but it’s been altered a little bit and allows it to last longer in the body and get taken up a bit slower,” explained Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, an adult endocrinologist at Scripps-Whittier Diabetes Institute.

Scripps endocrinologist Athena Philis-Tsimikas is part of the team leading an international study comparing the new once-weely shot to the daily insulin shots.

“There was not only equal lowering of the blood sugar to an equivalent amount between the two groups, but there was actually greater lowering, better blood glucose control,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas said.

This single shot may give millions of people new hope in the new year.

“When you think about a once-weekly injection for people with diabetes, they’re going from having to take 365 injects a year to only 52 times a year. And although this might not seem like a lot to you and me, to the person having to do the injection, it can be incredibly significant,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas said.

A company in Europe created the once-weekly insulin shot. They plan to file for market approval in the U.S. early next year.

That means it could hit doctors’ offices by next summer!