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Pramlintide for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

<p>Pramlintide for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 4 min read

Obesity is a huge problem worldwide. It affects more than one billion people globally. With such staggering statistics, it’s not surprising that people are turning to drugs like Pramlintide to lose weight.

Pramlintide is an injectable medication used to treat people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This medication treats high blood sugar in individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, who also use insulin at meals. If you have tried other methods, and your blood sugar levels have not been stabilized, taking Pramlintide is a good option for many.

But did you also know that Pramlintide can be used for weight loss? Just like many other diabetes drugs, Pramlintide has been found to cause weight loss in overweight individuals. According to DiabetesSelfManagement.com, two studies have found that Pramlintide or Symlin, its brand name, has been found effective in helping people lose weight. But how exactly does Pramlintide work to cause weight loss? 

Pramlintide is a synthetic version of the hormone, amylin, which is secreted by the pancreas with insulin after meals. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2005, Pramlintide works in tandem with other hormones in the body. This drug causes weight loss by controlling blood glucose levels and by slowing down the gastric emptying process. As a result, you feel full for a longer period of time. Because of this, you are likely to eat less.

Studies have found that this drug is particularly effective in individuals with type 2 diabetes, who are also overweight. One study focused primarily on Pramlintide’s ability to cause weight loss in individuals with obesity. One study in particular followed individuals with a body mass index or BMI of 30 and over. Participants who were given Pramlintide lost nearly eight pounds and nearly one and a half inches from their waist. 

When compared to a placebo group, participants who were given Pramlintide lost an estimated five percent of their body weight within a short period of time. Those who were given this drug found that their appetite was suppressed. These individuals also said they felt better overall. However, this drug does not come without side effects.

According to experts, nausea has been reported in studies. Many study participants left the trial, but those who remained yielded interesting results—a significantly high weight loss. Another recent study analyzed a group of 88 people who were given Pramlintide. When compared those who were given a placebo, obese individuals who were given Pramlintide over a six-week period consumed “between 500 and 750” fewer calories than those who received a placebo only.

As with any medication, Pramlintide has side effects that can affect your results when it comes to weight loss. Pramlintide is an injection medication that is dispensed under the skin. Side effects of this medication vary, and some can work in your favor. Those seeking weight loss are most likely pleased to see weight loss as a side effect. However, there are a number of things to be aware of. Pramlintide can cause nausea, dizziness, extreme tiredness, and joint pain.

Cough and sore throat are other potential side effects. However, it’s important to note the difference between moderate and serious side effects. Those who take this medication should keep an eye out for difficulty breathing, hives, vision problems, and feeling jittery. Other serious side effects include the following:

  • Difficulty walking

  • Slurred speech

  • Sudden vision loss

  • Tunnel vision

In some cases, individuals taking this medication may experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or a pounding heartbeat. 

What are the benefits of taking Pramlintide for weight loss? 

According to PubMed, obese individuals who take Pramlintide see a moderate weight loss. However, the results of many studies are limited, because patients take different doses. Plus, clinical trials are often limited by an insufficient number of study participants. 

Over the first six months of use, many patients see a typical weight loss of 6.6 pounds over a period of six months. This medication dulls the secretion of glucagon, making it possible to increase satiety and decrease your appetite. The end result is a significant weight loss, especially if you adopt a healthy diet. 

Because this medication promotes feelings of fullness, it has a number of benefits. In addition to facilitating weight loss, this drug keeps your body from raising blood glucose levels by itself after you eat a meal. This medication stabilizes glucose levels. However, being successful with weight loss on this medication requires lifestyle modifications.

According to experts, you should start small when taking Pramlintide for weight loss. It may help to find the right dosage of this medication. Experts generally recommend that you start by taking Pramlintide with only one meal per day. You should determine the specific dosage to take at each meal. Your doctor can offer assistance with this.

Pramlintide should produce the same results every time you take it. Your dosage of Pramlintide should be the same at each meal. Chances are that your doctor will start you with the lowest possible dose. The lowest dose is typically 15 micrograms by pen. Two to three units are delivered by syringe. This dose should be the same for three days. Your doctor may continue to increase your dosage until you reach the right dosage.

It is also important to take this medication with insulin. Doctors recommend taking your insulin five to 10 minutes after you have finished a meal. That way, your insulin won’t “peak” too early and lead to hypoglycemia, a condition in which your glucose level is lower than it should be. If you see a drop in your blood sugar levels, and then see blood sugar levels rise, you may need to take regular insulin. 

If you take Pramlintide, it is important to reduce your insulin dose by 25 percent. According to Reuters, the amount of weight lost by those on Pramlintide is significant, because this drug has been dubbed one of the most promising and effective drugs in facilitating weight loss. 

Also be aware that Pramlintide can cause problems at times. Your Pramlintide level may need to be increased over time. After using this drug for months or years, you may develop a tolerance to it. Your doctor may increase your dose, so you get the same benefit out of the medication. 

There may be cases when Pramlintide may cause low blood sugar. You should not take this medication if you decide to eat a meal that digests slowly. Pasta, restaurant food, and beans are slow-digesting foods, so avoid taking this medication when consuming these foods. 

How does Pramlintide work?

According to experts, Pramlintide works by lowering blood sugar. It does this by slowing the speed at which food moves through your system. Because of this, blood sugar levels do not rise too quickly. Additionally, Pramlintide reduces the amount of glucose that is produced by your liver. 

 Pramlintide belongs to a drug class called antihyperglycemics. This class of drugs works by decreasing the amount of glycated hemoglobin in the bloodstream. While this is beneficial, also be aware that there is the potential to develop gastroparesis with this medication.

Amylin or Pramlintide helps manage balance of energy, which is why the drug is such a good option for individuals with obesity. When you take the proper dosage of Pramlintide, you will begin to feel really full within 15 to 30 minutes after injection. Your blood sugar levels will remain steady for a couple hours after you have eaten. 

It’s important to note that sugar levels rise more slowly when you take this medication. This medication can cause your blood sugar to rise slowly. Finding the right dosage will require time and effort. Your risk for hypoglycemia increases with this medication, and it may be helpful to adjust your medication accordingly. 

Unfortunately, hypoglycemia can be difficult to treat. If you develop hypoglycemia, it could take a long time to get over it. However, there are natural approaches you can take to speed up the recovery process. To repair hypoglycemia, it is important to cut alcohol and refined sugars from your diet. You should also consume foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, vegetables, and nuts. Alcohol impairs judgment, so it is important to cut out alcohol immediately.

Ideally, you need to eat light foods more frequently. It may also help to take a chromium supplement. Taking 200 micrograms of chromium each day will stabilize blood sugar. Chromium is a mineral that improves insulin sensitivity and improves carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism. You can load up on the foods that are high in chromium. Such foods include grape juice, broccoli, mashed potatoes, and turkey breast.

There are benefits and risks to chromium supplements. Chromium contributes to muscle mass and weight loss. Studies have also found that chromium leads to a reduction of body fat. In that respect, your body can reap a number of benefits from this mineral. Studies have also found that chromium may help you effectively manage your diabetes.  

 

 

13 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/pramlintide-subcutaneous-route/description/drg-20065595

https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/symlin-may-help-obese-people-lose-weight/

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605031.html

https://www.rxlist.com/symlin_pramlintide/drugs-condition.htm

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20164472/

https://diatribe.org/pramlintide-applied-practical-tips-getting-symlin-work-right

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22601-insulin

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373685

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-diabetes-drug-1/diabetes-drug-promising-as-aid-to-weight-loss-idUSTON47812520070905

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-diabetes-drug-1/diabetes-drug-promising-as-aid-to-weight-loss-idUSTON47812520070905

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34332974/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gastroparesis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355787

https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-1034003


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.