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

JAMA. 2023 Mar 28;329(12):990-999. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.2064.


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 A1c was 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • C-Peptide / metabolism
  • C-Peptide / pharmacology
  • C-Peptide / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells* / drug effects
  • Male
  • Verapamil / adverse effects


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • C-Peptide
  • Verapamil

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04233034