Nutrition News: Weight Control Benefit of Diabetes Drugs Symlin® and Byetta™

Two new diabetes drugs offer hope for improved blood glucose control without the usual side effect of weight gain. Here’s how they work:

Symlin® (pramlintide) is an injection medication for people with diabetes who require insulin… either type 1 or type 2. Symlin works with insulin to control blood sugar levels after meals.

How does it control weight? Symlin lowers insulin requirements at mealtimes by controlling the production of glucose by the liver. It slows how quickly food leaves the stomach which helps keep blood sugars from jumping off the charts after meals. And it gives the stomach a sense of feeling satisfied with less food which helps control the urge to overeat.

1. Take Symlin within 15 minutes of each meal.

2. Symlin can be taken before any “meal” that contains at least 30 grams of carbohydrates or 250 calories.

3. Because Symlin works with insulin, before-meal insulin dosages should be decreased by 50 percent when starting this medication to prevent low blood sugar reactions.

4. Do NOT take Symlin for small meals (less than 250 calories or 30 grams of carbohydrates) or snacks or if you are unable to eat for any reason.

Byetta™ is an injectable medication for people with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin. It can be used along with oral diabetes medications to improve blood glucose control after meals.

Byetta slows the passage of food through the stomach and helps patients feel less hungry. Most patients on this drug in clinical trials lost weight.

1. Take Byetta two times a day, 30 to 60 minutes before morning and evening meals.

2. Do NOT take Byetta after a meal, even if you miss a dose.

The main side effect of both these drugs is nausea, especially if you eat “past” the feeling of being satisfied. Ask your doctor for more specific information about these drugs.

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