Fun Fact Friday: May 15


Which animal has helped treat diabetes?

Which animal has helped treat diabetes?

Answer: Gila monsters!

In the mid-1900s, researchers discovered that a hormone in the venom of Gila monsters actually stimulates insulin production in humans. The hormone works similarly to GLP-1, which is found in the digestive tract of humans and regulates blood glucose.

The investigators licensed the discovery to a pharmaceutical company, and a synthetic version called exenatide was approved by the FDA in 2005 as an add-on to other diabetes drugs to avoid or postpone the use of insulin injections.


US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research & Development. Diabetes drug from Gila monster venom; May 7, 2019. Accessed May 14, 2020.

Stay tuned each week for our Friday Pharmacy Fun Facts! Impress your friends and colleagues with useful facts about the history of pharmacy, inventions created by pharmacists, and more. If you have a fun fact to contribute, email, and it may be included!

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