Some Symlin Success


Last Thursday morning I saw my endocrinologist and was really happy to find out that my A1C[1] had dropped 0.6 points. I owe that success to my decision, made with the encouragement of my endo, to start taking Symlin (pramlintide) again.

I had tried Symlin four years ago, a few months after my daughter was born, and I never really adjusted to it. I hated the way that taking it made me feel slightly nauseous while I was eating, and more importantly, I never managed to adjust my insulin to the right dose with the Symlin: I would cut down too much on my premeal bolus and have a high blood glucose reading after eating, or I would take too much insulin with my Symlin and quickly get low blood glucose. Dealing with a newborn baby, a two-year-old, and Symlin proved to be too much of a challenge for me, and my kids weren’t going anywhere, so I said goodbye to Symlin.

Fast-forward to now: Giving it a second try, I have discovered that I LOVE Symlin. My endocrinologist helped me start taking it gradually so that I could better adjust my boluses and monitor how the Symlin affected my premeal boluses. We worked together to fine-tune my insulin adjustments, and within a few weeks, I started taking a full dose of Symlin with most of my meals. Rather than feeling nauseous after eating, I just notice myself experiencing a feeling of being full, and at that point, I stop eating. When I take Symlin, I have a definite, more noticeable sensation of getting full that is helping me to cut down on calories.

But the most significant victory is that it has been so much easier to keep my post-meal blood glucose readings in the optimal range, even as I cut back on the amount of insulin that I’m taking. And no doubt, this more effective post-meal control is what caused my A1C to drop.

Which all made me think about how thankful I am that my endo brought up the idea of revisiting Symlin, even though I had been so adamantly against taking it after my first experience. Being open to try it a second time makes me think about how, to maintain optimal health, we need to keep an open mind. I admit, when I first heard the word “Symlin,” I could feel myself getting resistant. But something in me made me push through the resistance. It was with this push that I allowed myself to feel open and excited about the fact that maybe this time around, my Symlin experience would be different.

As I reflect now, it wasn’t the Symlin that didn’t work last time — it was the timing in my life. I was totally exhausted being a mom of a baby and toddler and no doubt was too cloudy in my thinking to work out my insulin/Symlin balance. It was not easy to manage Type 1 diabetes[2] during those days and adding something new into the mix threw me off balance.

Thankfully, I’m in a different place in my life now and adding Symlin to my daily regimen has been a wonderful opportunity for me to achieve better blood glucose management.

Have you tried Symlin? What has it been like for you? I would love to hear about your experiences with it… or about anything that you’ve “revisited” to discover that the second (or third… or fourth…) time around, it became an effective diabetes tool.

  1. A1C:
  2. Type 1 diabetes:

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Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10. Twenty-eight years later, she is a proud mom of two young children and writes frequently about issues related to diabetes. She is the author of Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified (Marlowe & Co), and her latest book is a cookbook for young children, to be published by Woodbine House this fall. (Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is not a medical professional.)

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