Skip to main content

How does diazoxide slow insulin?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on June 26, 2023.

Official answer


How does diazoxide slow insulin?

Oral diazoxide (Proglycem) works by acting as a chemical messenger to tell the cells that the blood glucose level needs to be increased. It does this by opening up the ATP sensitive potassium channels (KATP) channels which is part of the messenger system in our cells. Once the KATP channels are opened, it causes

  • the pancreas to decrease the amount of insulin released
  • liver to release more glucose

The insulin in our body reduces the blood sugar levels, so by reducing the amount of insulin that is released from the pancreas means that the blood sugar levels will increase. The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen, when the body needs more glucose the liver converts back into glucose and releases into the bloodstream.

What is oral diazoxide (Proglycem) use for?

Oral diazoxide is used to increase blood sugar levels in patients that have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that has been caused by specific medical conditions that increase the amount of insulin in the bloodstream. Oral diazoxide is only used when other specific medical therapy or surgical management has been unsuccessful.

Oral diazoxide (Proglycem) is NOT used to treat occasional low blood sugar caused by diet.

Patient care while on oral diazoxide

The medical conditions that cause low blood glucose levels due to having too much insulin are often complex. Patients on oral diazoxide need to be under close observation by a health care team who are monitoring their clinical response and all relevant tests regularly.

Bottom line:

  • Oral diazoxide (Proglycem) reduces the amount of insulin in the bloodstream by opening the cells KATP channels, which is part of our cells' messenger system.
  • Oral diazoxide should only be used for specific medical conditions that cause high insulin levels, with resulting low blood glucose levels.
  • Patients on oral diazoxide need to be closely monitored by their health care team.

Proflycem Medication Information:

Congenital Hyperinsulinism Treatment & Management:

Related medical questions

Drug information

Related support groups