In September 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called teplizumab (brand name: Otelixizumab) to slow down the progression of type 1 diabetes in people who have been recently diagnosed with the condition.
Teplizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets and blocks the activity of a protein called CD3, which is found on the surface of certain immune cells called T-cells. By blocking CD3, teplizumab is thought to slow down the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, which is a key aspect of the development of type 1 diabetes.
Teplizumab is approved for use in people who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Specifically, the drug is intended for use in people who have been diagnosed with the condition within the previous 90 days, and it is given by intravenous infusion every two weeks for 14 days.
It’s good for people who have a high risk of progressing to severe diabetes. Typically, these patients have a family history of type 1 diabetes, or have been diagnosed with high levels of diabetes-related autoantibodies, which are markers of the immune attack on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
It is important to note that teplizumab is not a cure for type 1 diabetes and it does not replace insulin therapy. People who receive the drug will still need to manage their diabetes with insulin injections and follow a healthy lifestyle to maintain good blood sugar control.
It’s also important to consider that the drug is only intended for people who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, as it is believed to be most effective early in the course of the disease. If a person has had type 1 diabetes for a longer period of time, teplizumab may not be as effective.
It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to understand if the drug is appropriate for you and if it’s covered by your insurance.