Is Insulin a Life Long Solution If You Are Diabetic?

Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, discusses insulin as a lifelong solution.

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Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, discusses insulin as a lifelong solution.
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Featuring Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC

Duration: 1 minute, 34 seconds

In terms of trying to get off insulin, if you have type 1 diabetes, unfortunately the damage has already been done to your pancreas.

In short of having an islet cell transplantation, the insulin is a lifelong requirement. For patients with type 2 diabetes, if the patient is markedly overweight, we do have patients successfully lose large amounts of weight who will then be able to transition back from insulin onto pills, or even onto nothing other than diet and therapy.

Generally that's going to take something quite marked, like 40 or 50 pounds of weight loss to get there but it does happen.

In terms of pharmaceutical product that's otherwise an alternative to insulin there is a newer class of agents called incretin analogs, and these compounds work through a different hormone system than insulin and have two unique features compared to insulin.

The first is insulin makes you gain weight, these compounds help you lose weight. And the second issue is on their own by themselves the incretin don't cause low blood sugars, insulin does.

It's important to discuss your particular situation with your pharmacist or healthcare provider in terms of how it impacts your health, and may have an impact on other medications that you're taking.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.