Blue Light Drug Could Help Manage Downside of Diabetes Medications

blue light

Watch what you eat, get regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. In the perfect world, that would be enough to control diabetes. But in reality, diet and lifestyle factors aren't always enough to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels for people with diabetes. Sound familiar?

If you have diabetes, your doctor likely wants you to give yourself a finger-stick blood test on a regular basis to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Chances are pretty good you take medication to control diabetes too, but these drugs can cause other problems. Some diabetes drugs raise insulin levels but have a negative impact on the brain and heart. Other diabetes drugs raise insulin levels too rapidly and send blood sugar levels plummeting.

A New Way to Control Insulin Levels

Keeping your insulin levels in check with medication is a never-ending battle when you have diabetes. But maybe it doesn't have to be. Researchers at Imperial College London and LMU Munich recently developed a drug that can increase insulin production when exposed to blue light, and quickly stop added insulin production when not exposed to light.

Here's How It Works

A diabetic takes the medication sulfonylurea, currently identified as drug JB253. During a routine finger-stick blood test, the person discovers that insulin levels are low. Instead of tossing back more pills, all the patient has to do is press a couple of blue LED lights against the skin. The blue light interacts with the drug, turning it on to increase insulin production.

For many diabetics, this experimental drug is the perfect solution to low insulin levels after a meal. Just switch it on after eating to get insulin levels back to normal.

A New Way to Manage Diabetes

The diabetes drug JB253 is part of a growing field of medicine known as photopharamacology that uses drugs that can be turned off and on when exposed to blue light. Your doctor won't be prescribing this anytime soon because it's still in the research stage. But it's a promising advancement in diabetes care that can better control insulin levels, control diabetes, and minimize complications.