Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Insulin Shot Fails to Stop Diabetes -- But Insulin Pill Might Do the Trick

WebMD Health News

June 24, 2001 (Philadelphia) -- Despite promising early results in both animals and people, low-dose insulin shots do not appear to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes in people at high risk of developing the disease, according to research presented here at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.

The study, dubbed the Diabetes Prevention Trial (DPT-1), followed more than 300 children who were diagnosed with having a 50% or higher chance of developing type 1 diabetes within five years. Half of the kids received intravenous insulin for four days, and then got low-dose insulin shots twice daily for nearly four years. The other half of the group received no treatment but was closely watched by investigators.

The children were deemed high risk because they tested positive for several blood markers of diabetes risk and negative for a gene thought to protect people from developing the diabetes.

Disappointingly, both groups had approximately the same rate of progression to diabetes, says lead researcher Jay S. Skylar, MD, professor of medicine, pediatrics, and psychology at the University of Miami.

There were no harmful effects in giving the low-dose insulin shots but, unfortunately, no beneficial effects either, Skylar says.

The good news? Because of the close monitoring of study participants, the doctors were able to diagnose the disease at a much earlier, symptomless stage.

As many as one million Americans have type 1 diabetes, which usually begins in childhood. It occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly launches a deadly attack on its own cells that produce the vital hormone insulin.

The initial hope was that the low-dose insulin shots would give these insulin-producing cells a time-out. It was thought that when they are resting, they are less likely to be destroyed by an immune system attack.

But no such luck: 15.1% in the insulin group and 14.6% in the control group developed diabetes, the study found.

Calling it a "beautifully done study," ADA president-elect Christopher Saudek, MD, says, "I am disappointed that this didn't prevent diabetes, [but] we can't afford to be discouraged and have to proceed with other such trials." Saudek is professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner