If you consider the long way diabetic treatment has come since the time of the Banting team's insulin discovery—and that was just in the 1930s—it is nothing less than staggering. The progress that the medical community has made in less than 100 years is impressive, but here's even better news: researchers continue working on improving diabetes treatments.
With more people developing diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes and its correlation to the increasing obesity epidemic), there is a greater need to control and, if possible, prevent the progression of the diabetes.
Future diabetes medications will further battle diabetes. The following list of forthcoming diabetes medications1 includes recent products that, depending on clinical trials and FDA approval, may be coming to the marketplace for the treatment of diabetes.
Possible New Diabetes Medications
We know there's a lot of letters and confusing names in there—but the important thing to keep in mind is that the medical community is hard at work in learning how to best treat diabetes. Every medication on that list will need to go through a rigorous approval process before people like you can use it. To give you a better understanding of this process, we've summarized it below.
How a Medication Is Developed
After a drug (for diabetes or any condition) is discovered, it goes through this safety trial period on animals. Yes, animals. It must be shown to be safe and effective on animals before it can be tested on humans. These animal trials are usually done years before a medication comes to the market.
Therefore, if you hear about a "potential cure for diabetes" in the newspaper or on the evening news, do a little research: is the "cure" or "exciting new treatment" just being tested on animals now? Then you'll know not to jump too far ahead of yourself.
Throughout the animal trial process, the medical research labs give periodic information on the status of their potential breakthrough to the FDA, which is the government agency in charge of medication approvals.
After proving potential for treating diabetes by demonstrating the medication's safety on animals, early trials involving humans can begin.
Manufacturers generally contract with physician practices, hospital facilities, and medical schools to run the studies. These studies must be operated in exactly the same way, regardless of location, with the same criteria for consistency.
The subjects are separated into groups within the same parameters, often at multiple sites. Participants are often unaware whether they are taking the new drug, an old one, or a placebo. Sometimes people without diabetes are used as a control as well.
Initially small groups are in the trials until safety is established. At that time, there are secondary clinical trials with broader numbers.
Anywhere in the trial process, the FDA can stop the trial depending on results or evidence that the potential diabetes medication is not effective or even dangerous.
Those diabetes medications that succeed in making it through the clinical trial phase will be brought to market—and help millions of people with diabetes live better.