Cough medicine ingredient may fight diabetes
Over-the-counter cough medicine may have a greater advantage than people anticipated. Researchers from Heinrich Heine University in Germany found an ingredient in common cough suppressants helped trigger the release of insulin from the pancreas in humans.
The drug dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in cough suppressants, increased the production of insulin in several studies—first in mice and later in people with diabetes. The findings were published in Nature Medicine.
The discovery happened by mistake when researchers initially thought the drug would lower insulin production based on previous research involving people with too much insulin—a condition known as hyperinsulinism. However, to their surprise it actually increased insulin production.
While the results are very promising as a potential treatment for people with type 2 diabetes, more research is needed to understand the possible connection and how it works. The human study involved only 20 patients. It is not advised that people with diabetes begin taking dextromethorphan.