The quinoline-3-carboxamide, linomide, protects non-obese diabetic mice from diabetes. The effects of linomide on insulin needs and beta cell function were studied in recent juvenile Type I diabetes in a double-blind trial. Patients with recent onset diabetes were randomly assigned to treatment with a fixed dose of 2.5 mg linomide (42 patients) or placebo (21 patients) for 1 year, in addition to insulin and diet. Glycated haemoglobin was 10-15% lower at 9 months (p = 0.003) and 12 months (p < 0.05) in the linomide group. The insulin dose was 32-40% smaller in the linomide group at 3 (p < 0.03), 6 (p < 0.02), 9 (p < 0.001) and 12 months (p = 0.01). Insulin doses correlated negatively with C peptide values (p = 0.001-0.002). The trend for higher C peptide values in the linomide group did not reach significance. In a post hoc subgroup analysis performed in 40 patients (25 from the linomide group and 15 from the placebo group) who still had detectable residual beta cell function at entry, linomide was associated with 45-59% higher C peptide value at 6 months (p < 0.05), 9 months (p < 0.05) and 12 months (p < 0.05). The main adverse effects of linomide were mild transitory anaemia (45 vs 10% in the linomide and placebo groups), thrombocytopenia (24 vs 10%), and mild joint discomfort (45 vs 5%) with no clinical signs. In conclusion, low-dose linomide reduced the insulin needs in patients with juvenile Type I diabetes of recent onset and improved beta cell function in patients who still had detectable beta cell function at entry. These results support further clinical and experimental studies to define the effects of linomide in Type I diabetes provided the safety of linomide is reliably established.