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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEWORLEANS, La. - There is about to be a big change in the way people with diabetes can control their blood sugar levels.

And people here in the New Orleans area have a chance to be among the first to try a new type of medication, one that you only have to take once a week.

Three years ago Tina Meshell, 39,had an unexpected health problem.

'The whole time in the ambulance, they kept saying, 'We need to check her bloodsugar. Something's not right.' And when I got to the hospital, they checked my blood sugar and it was really high,' remembersMeshell, who lives in St. Bernard Parish.

That's when she discovered, that for probably years, she had type-2 diabetes. And that explained the mood swings, headaches, andfatigue. But her diabetes is still not well controlled on oral medication, so Tina is hoping to qualify for a study of a new once-a-week diabetes medication.

The new type of injection works differently than insulin.It stimulates the release of insulin andit lowers the amount of glucose or sugar that's put in your blood. It alsoslowsdown your digestion and that is why in previous studiespeople are feeling fuller longer and losing weight.

'There have been worldwide studies. This is the last step before the product will go on the market.We know that this has already worked very wellcompared to placebo,' explained Dr. Eileen Palace, the investigator conducting the Metairie branch of the study.

The study is for adults 18 and older,on oral diabetes medications.If you qualify,you'll get your physical and eye exams and the new medication free for nearly eight months. A third of the patients will be bumped up from oral medication to insulin injections instead of getting the new medication.

'So I'm hoping to give them another option. Rather than having to take the daily insulin, they have a chance to do this once-a-week non-insulin that might be more effective than insulin and certainly easier to use,' said Dr. Palace.

Tina did not qualify today for the study because her A1c was an 11. It has to be in the 7 to 10 range to qualify.But if she brings it down in the next few weeks, she can try to qualify again.

If you want to see if you qualify for this free diabetes study.. call 504-834-4500.

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