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FDA Approves New Drug to Delay Onset of Type 1 Diabetes

FDA Approves New Drug to Delay Onset of Type 1 Diabetes

The staggering 2 million people in the United States who suffer with type 1 diabetes now have a new treatment option to help fight the disease progression.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug on the market that has been found to delay the progression of type 1 diabetes in those 8 years and older who are living with stage 2 of type 1 diabetes. In this stage, doctors can measure diabetes-related antibodies, as well as abnormal blood sugar levels, but the body is still able to produce insulin.

Tzield (teplizumab) is a monoclonal antibody injection that targets the underlying autoimmune process of type 1 diabetes and deactivates cells that attack its own insulin-producing cells while also increasing the cells that help control the immune response. Tzield is administered by IV infusion once a day for 14 consecutive days and has been found to delay progression to stage 3 by months and even years.

Those suffering with type 1 diabetes lack the ability to make insulin, a hormone that tells the cells in the body to use glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream to make energy. Without insulin, sugar levels remain high in the blood and lead to health problems such as hyperglycemia, heart and kidney disease, vision and nerve problems. Daily insulin injections or wearing an insulin pump is required for those with type 1 diabetes, as blood sugar must be checked regularly throughout the day.

Diabetes screenings are important because 85% of type 1 diagnoses are in kids and teens with no known family history of the disease, but who start to display certain signs and symptoms. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or your physician if you experience symptoms that include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Unintended weight loss

The FDA approval of Tzield is seen as a significant treatment to prolonging the burdens, complications and risks of disease progression.