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US diabetologist discusses canagliflozin use for type 1 diabetes

By Editor
14th March 2018
Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes

A professor dubbed the “diabetologist to the stars” has discussed the benefits of using the type 2 drug canagliflozin on treating people with type 1 diabetes.

Speaking at this week’s Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUKPC), Professor Anne Peters, from the School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, talked about how only six per cent of the people in the US with type 1 diabetes are reaching their targets set by the American Diabetes Association.

It was because of the low numbers of people meeting the suggested target ranges that she wanted to explore other avenues of treatment.

She told delegates how a few years ago a patient of hers, who Professor Peters referred to as Sarah, had insisted she start taking the type 2 diabetes drug canagliflozin, to help treat her type 1 diabetes.

Professor Peters said: “She came to me and she said had heard about this drug and she wanted to be the first to try it I explained it was really only given to people with type 2 diabetes, but she really wanted to give it a go.”

At the time Sarah was on a pump and constantly battled to keep her blood sugar levels in range, keep good control of her blood pressure and also to lose weight. However, after being prescribed the ‎SGLT2 inhibitor all three health conditions significantly improved.

Professor Peters told the listening delegates that she has learnt a great deal about those with type 1 diabetes taking the drug as it can put people at risk of severe Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), so she always ensured all those taking the medication clear instructions about looking out for the signs.

“But Sarah didn’t listen and got pneumonia and got very sick and went into DKA. Her husband rang me very upset from the emergency room, and I was also deeply upset too, as I do not like my patients getting sick when I can prevent it,” Professor Peters explained. 

Sarah did recover though, but was refused canagliflozin by Professor Peters, but again her health began to suffer, so eventually it was agreed she could start taking it again, but at a much lower dose.

Professor Peters said: “I realised that 300mg was too much of a high dose, but 100mg was just perfect. Three years later she’s doing great and I’m completely happy and it’s made me realise that I can do more for my patients, rather than just prescribe insulin.”

As she stood down, chair of the session Professor Melanie Davies, professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester and co-founder of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, thanked Professor Peters explaining she was “diabetologist to the stars” who regularly treats some of the most high-profile people in California with type 1 diabetes.

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