Old mental drugs may be new way to treat type 2 diabetes

Credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

In a study from the University of Alberta and elsewhere, scientists found that a class of older antipsychotic drugs could be a promising new therapeutic option for people with type 2 diabetes.

This can help fill a need among patients who aren’t able to take other currently available treatments.

There is a growing need to find new therapies for type 2 diabetes.

The drug metformin is one of the most common therapeutics for type 2 diabetes, but about 15 percent of patients aren’t able to take it.

Another type of commonly used drug class (insulin secretagogues) to treat diabetes isn’t as effective for later-stage patients, who also need a different option.

In the study, the team focused on succinyl CoA:3-ketoacid CoA transferase (SCOT), an enzyme involved in the body’s process of making energy from ketones.

They used computer modeling to find drugs that could potentially interact with SCOT and landed on an older generation of antipsychotic drugs, a drug class called diphenylbutylpiperidines, or DPBP for short.

A specific drug within this class called pimozide could be repurposed to help treat diabetes, but they’ve since expanded their focus to see whether more of the DPBP class could also be useful for treating the disease.

The team found they all improve blood sugar control by preventing the muscle from burning ketones as a fuel source.

They believe this SCOT inhibition is the reason these antipsychotics might actually have a second life for repurposing as an anti-diabetic agent.

Developing a drug is a complicated, time-consuming and expensive process. It involves clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the drug, and can easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Not to mention, it can take years to go from development in the laboratory to use in the clinic or hospital. Repurposing an existing drug may help fast-track the process.

Though clinical trials are still needed, repurposing a drug allows researchers to focus specifically on the efficacy and safety of the new intended use—offering the potential to provide a new therapeutic more quickly and cost-effectively.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that flaxseed oil is more beneficial than fish oil to people with diabetes, and Stanford study finds drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing new bandage for foot ulcers in people with diabetes.

The study was conducted by John Ussher et al and published in the journal Diabetes.

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