Effect of Verapamil on Pancreatic Beta Cell Function in Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Gregory P. Forlenza, Jennifer McVean, Roy W. Beck, Colleen Bauza, Ryan Bailey, Bruce Buckingham, Linda A. Dimeglio, Jennifer L. Sherr, Mark Clements, Anna Neyman, Carmella Evans-Molina, Emily K. Sims, Laurel H. Messer, Laya Ekhlaspour, Ryan McDonough, Michelle Van Name, Diana Rojas, Shannon Beasley, Stephanie Dubose, Craig KollmanAntoinette Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Importance: In preclinical studies, thioredoxin-interacting protein overexpression induces pancreatic beta cell apoptosis and is involved in glucotoxicity-induced beta cell death. Calcium channel blockers reduce these effects and may be beneficial to beta cell preservation in type 1 diabetes. Objective: To determine the effect of verapamil on pancreatic beta cell function in children and adolescents with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Design, Setting, and Participants: This double-blind, randomized clinical trial including children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes who weighed 30 kg or greater was conducted at 6 centers in the US (randomized participants between July 20, 2020, and October 13, 2021) and follow-up was completed on September 15, 2022. Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to once-daily oral verapamil (n = 47) or placebo (n = 41) as part of a factorial design in which participants also were assigned to receive either intensive diabetes management or standard diabetes care. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was area under the curve values for C-peptide level (a measure of pancreatic beta cell function) stimulated by a mixed-meal tolerance test at 52 weeks from diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Results: Among 88 participants (mean age, 12.7 [SD, 2.4] years; 36 were female [41%]; and the mean time from diagnosis to randomization was 24 [SD, 4] days), 83 (94%) completed the trial. In the verapamil group, the mean C-peptide area under the curve was 0.66 pmol/mL at baseline and 0.65 pmol/mL at 52 weeks compared with 0.60 pmol/mL at baseline and 0.44 pmol/mL at 52 weeks in the placebo group (adjusted between-group difference, 0.14 pmol/mL [95% CI, 0.01 to 0.27 pmol/mL]; P =.04). This equates to a 30% higher C-peptide level at 52 weeks with verapamil. The percentage of participants with a 52-week peak C-peptide level of 0.2 pmol/mL or greater was 95% (41 of 43 participants) in the verapamil group vs 71% (27 of 38 participants) in the placebo group. At 52 weeks, hemoglobin A1cwas 6.6% in the verapamil group vs 6.9% in the placebo group (adjusted between-group difference, -0.3% [95% CI, -1.0% to 0.4%]). Eight participants (17%) in the verapamil group and 8 participants (20%) in the placebo group had a nonserious adverse event considered to be related to treatment. Conclusions and Relevance: In children and adolescents with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, verapamil partially preserved stimulated C-peptide secretion at 52 weeks from diagnosis compared with placebo. Further studies are needed to determine the longitudinal durability of C-peptide improvement and the optimal length of therapy. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04233034.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-999
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 28 2023

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© 2023 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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