Caring Currents

Got a Parent With Diabetes? Chew on This

Last updated: May 24, 2008


Here's a potential drug delivery system most folks can, well, if not swallow, at least nibble on. A biotech company just announced it's about to begin testing a chewing gum version of the diabetes medication metformin, a generic drug that's often the first prescription pill for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The small study -- around 36 volunteers willing to masticate for the greater good -- will investigate whether Generex's MetControl chewing gum keeps diabetes in check as well as metformin tablets currently on the market.

Metformin, the most widely prescribed type 2 diabetes drug, does two jobs rather well: It regulates blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity in cells. But many folks who might benefit from taking this pill avoid it because of side effects (think tummy troubles like nausea, vomiting, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating). Its large size and bitter taste are also off-putting, notes online newsletter Diabetes Health. (Have any of these issues been of concern for your parents?)

A yummy tasting gum may make metformin more palatable and increase compliance in the process. And anything that helps your folks stick with their diabetes treatment plan is a good thing, right?

Which got me thinking: What other diabetes treatments would you like to see out there that would make life easier for your parents? Inhaled insulin ? Non-stick glucose monitoring ? A pleasant tasting little tonic, custom mixed, and packed with all the meds your parents need to deal with everything that ails them? Make like a scientist and share your inventions with me.

Image by Flickr user korny.brot used under the Creative Commons attribution license.