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Type 2 Diabetes Treatments – Supplementing Insulin

When such an important hormone as insulin is no longer being produced naturally within our bodies, it may affect the production of other important hormones which control the many metabolic functions of our endocrine system. These hormones may affect our ability to regulate things such as satiety levels. One such hormone is amylin, and in order for us to be successful at managing diabetes and our lifestyle changes, we might need to consider supplementing our insulin regiment with amylin replacement injections.

Pramlimtide (Symlin)

Amylin is a hormone which the pancreas secretes, alongside insulin, in order to help suppress appetite. In persons with type 2 diabetes, the presence of amylin is reduced, and in persons with type 1 diabetes, amylin is almost non-existent. This may lead to a patient struggling to suppress their appetite and overeating, as well as the liver overproducing glucose.

Amylin is a bit of a complicated hormone, and it cannot be injected directly, as it is very difficult to stabilize it in a solution. However, a new medication called pramlintide (or Symlin) is basically the exogenous replacement of this hormone, with adjustments made in order to ensure its stability in solution.

Pramlimtide mimics symlin’s action, exactly, and is administered alongside insulin. This injectible works by slowing the movement of food through the stomach, as well as decreasing appetite and the amount of glucose released by the liver. While the medication cannot replace insulin, it may reduce the amount of insulin a patient needs.

Some of the concerns people have with increased appetite and weight gain associated with insulin – might in fact be concerns related to a deficiency in amylin production. If you suspect this might be an issue for you, speak to your diabetes specialist about adding Symlin to your insulin regimen.

Common risks for Symlin include hypoglycemia, when combined with insulin, as well as nausea, headache, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. As always, rotate an injection site in order to avoid the developing of scar tissue, and carry appropriate glucose replacement snacks (tabs or gels) with you.

Always Consult Your Doctor

We have looked at many medications and treatments through the course of several blog posts. These medications have ups, and downs – many benefits and some serious considerations. Some will suit a patient’s needs and progression of their diabetes more than others. It is important that a patient consider their options, and discuss them as well as any dosage changes, side effects, and progress with their medical team.

Do not stop taking any medication on your own. Some symptoms resolve on their own and require time and accumulation of the medication in order to disappear. Other medications may need a gradual weaning, or a simple adjustment in dosage. As always, the goal of a diabetes treatment plan is to have normal blood glucose levels. It is not a shame to need medications, it is simply something we might have to do as our condition progresses. The goal is to be healthy, and to live long and productive lives – not necessarily to be medication free.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.