Diabetes Self-Management Blog

The injected diabetes drug pramlintide (brand name Symlin) is now available in pen form. Drug manufacturer Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced this week that two new prefilled, pen-injector devices—the SymlinPen 120 and the SymlinPen 60—are now on the market to make the process of injecting mealtime doses of pramlintide simpler and more convenient. Until this week, pramlintide was only available in vials.

The new pens will allow users to inject different fixed doses of pramlintide. The SymlinPen 120 can deliver 60 or 120 micrograms of pramlintide per dose, while the SymlinPen 60 can deliver 15, 30, 45, or 60 micrograms of pramlintide per dose. Both pens can be stored at room temperature (though not to exceed 86° F) once they are in use.

Pramlintide was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2005 for use in people with Type 1 diabetes and people with Type 2 diabetes who take mealtime insulin. Pramlintide is a synthetic analog of the human hormone amylin, which is usually made by the beta cells of the pancreas (the same cells that produce insulin). People with diabetes whose pancreases don’t produce enough (or any) insulin also don’t produce enough amylin at mealtimes.

Injecting pramlintide at mealtimes along with insulin can help people with diabetes control their after-meal blood glucose levels. Several mechanisms contribute to this effect, including slowed stomach emptying. This action can help people feel more full and eat less food; in fact, pramlintide has been shown to help people who are overweight or obese lose weight (see the blog entry “Symlin May Help Obese People Lose Weight.”) The most common side effect of pramlintide treatment is nausea.

In a prepared statement, President and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Daniel M. Bradbury said that the new pramlintide pens “will make it easier for…patients using multiple daily injections to start and stay with Symlin.” Pramlintide user Jan Chait, who has been waiting for a pen to become available, has blogged about the positives and negatives of her experiences using the drug in “Symlin: Sometimes the Positives Outweigh the Negatives.” You can also read more about pramlintide therapy in the article “Exenatide and Pramlintide: New Meds on the Block”.

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