Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

: 2017  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 788--789

Verapamil in diabetes

Resham Raj Poudel1, Nisha Kusum Kafle2,  
1 Department of Internal Medicine, Western Reserve Health Education, Youngstown, OH, USA
2 Department of Public Health, Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal

Correspondence Address:
Resham Raj Poudel
Western Reserve Health Education, Youngstown, OH

How to cite this article:
Poudel RR, Kafle NK. Verapamil in diabetes.Indian J Endocr Metab 2017;21:788-789

How to cite this URL:
Poudel RR, Kafle NK. Verapamil in diabetes. Indian J Endocr Metab [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jul 6 ];21:788-789
Available from:

Full Text


Loss of pancreatic β cells is a pathological hallmark of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus; however, no specific therapy targeting this defect is yet available. A paradigm shift with such a molecule has always been awaited. Verapamil – a nondihydropyridine calcium channel blocker used in the treatment of hypertension, angina, and tachyarrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation – has been observed to show some hope in preventing β cell loss in diabetics by inhibiting thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP).

TXNIP was first cloned in 1994 and the relation with β cells was elucidated in 2002. Pancreatic β cells have a poor antioxidant system and are highly susceptible to oxidative stress. TXNIP inhibits thioredoxin – a redox protein/antioxidant system [Figure 1],[1] and thereby induces oxidative stress. β cells TXNIP expression is strongly induced by glucose and is increased in diabetes. The overexpression of TXNIP in β cells has been shown to promote β cell apoptosis and reduce insulin production,[2] as shown in [Figure 1].[1] Genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of TXNIP seems to be protective against diabetes. In animal studies, the calcium channel blocker verapamil has been shown to prevent β cell apoptosis in streptozocin-induced diabetic mice; it supposedly promotes β cell survival and improves glucose homeostasis by inhibiting TXNIP expression.[2],[3]{Figure 1}

Recently, verapamil has also been shown to decrease fasting plasma glucose in diabetic patients in an observational study of 4978 patients – REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS). Type 1 diabetics, and type 2 diabetics on insulin with or without oral drugs, who also received verapamil had fasting serum glucose levels that were 24 mg/dL lower than those who did not receive verapamil (P = 0.039),[4] correlating with approximately 1% reduction in glycated hemoglobin. In another study of patients with no prior diabetes, oral verapamil use was associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes (6.41 vs. 8.07 per 1000 per year) compared with other calcium channel blockers.[5] Following REGARDS observation, a randomized controlled trial (NCT02372253) is ongoing to study the effect of verapamil in β cell survival in type 1 diabetics focusing on functional β cell mass, exogenous insulin requirements, glycemic control, and TXNIP expression in peripheral blood monocytes.[6] The future of clinical studies holds prospect for verapamil as well as other TXNIP inhibitors to come up as β cell saviors in preventing and treating diabetes. If it proves for clinical significance, the use of verapamil can hit two targets in diabetics – hyperglycemia and hypertension.


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6Verapamil for Beta Cell Survival Therapy in Type 1 Diabetes – Full Text View –; 2017. Available from: [Last cited on 2017 May 05].