Lincoln woman trials new pill for rare diabetes

A Lincoln resident suffering from a rare diabetes is now able to ditch the daily injections to cope with the illness and replace them with a single tablet.

Janet Locke (pictured) suffers from Maturity Onset Diabetes of Youth (MODY), a genetic form of diabetes, which affects the pancreas’ ability to store insulin.

MODY is a rarer type of diabetes from type one and two due to the change of a single gene and the way it runs in families.

Consultant Physician Rajagopalan Sriraman at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has a particular interest in MODY.

He said: “MODY is very rare compared with type one and type two diabetes. Experts estimate that only one to two percent of people with diabetes in the UK have it.

“Due to MODY being so rare, doctors may not be aware of it, so it is estimated that about 90% of people with it are mistakenly diagnosed with type one or type two diabetes first.”

Locke was diagnosed by Lincoln County Hospital, but prior to finding out about MODY she had to take insulin twice a day and regularly do finger prick testing.

She visited Dr Sriraman and Sarah Martin, a Diabetes Nurse Specialist, to discuss her MODY blood test results and treatment options.

She then chose to trial a new tablet called Gliclazide under Dr Sriraman’s supervision; the drug is typically used for type two diabetes.

Locke said: “Seventeen members of my family are diabetic including my son, daughter and grandson.

“When Dr Sriraman asked me to try a new form of treatment I was sceptical at first because my insulin is what I have been comfortable with taking for the last 54 years.

“I decided to try the tablet because I thought if it was to work for me it may work for my family members who are also affected by the same type of diabetes.

“I started taking the tablet shortly after my first meeting with Dr Sriraman last year. It’s still quite new to me but it has already made a big difference to my life and that of my family as a number of them have now tried the tablet too.

“My fingers used to get really sore with having to do my blood tests four-times-per-day. I don’t have to do this anymore.

“I just take a tablet with my breakfast and that’s it,” she said.

“A few years ago I never would have thought that I could manage without my insulin as it has been a part of my daily routine for such a long time.

“MODY has been passed down through my family tree and this could be the case for lots of other people as well.”

Sarah Martin, Diabetes Nurse Specialist at Lincoln County Hospital, said: “Janet has been closely monitored throughout the change of medication.

“Since stopping her insulin she no longer has to perform a regular daily finger prick test because her new treatment is less likely to cause her blood glucose levels to drop rapidly.

“If someone who has been diagnosed with type one diabetes suspects that they may have MODY, they should not try to stop their insulin themselves. Instead, they should discuss their concerns with their diabetes care team.”

To learn more about diabetes, symptoms, and the different types, visit NHS Choices.