Saliva Helping Diabetes Patients Control Weight

2 diabetes medications have helped some patients control their weight.

Barbara Oster has had diabetes for 15 years, and her medication wasn’t working so well, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

“It just blows you up, makes you feel like you’re gaining all this weight,” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new diabetes drugs — Byetta and Symlin — that studies have proved help patients control their illness and cut back their eating.

“One of the lovely side effects of both drugs is people tend to lose weight,” said Dr. Paula Yutzy, a diabetes educator at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center.

Byetta comes from the saliva of a scary-looking lizard — the Gila monster. The drugs mimic the effects of hormones, helping to regulate the disease by controlling liver functions and digestion, as well as making patients feel more full.

Yutzy said she’s glad the medications have reached the public.

“When you have diabetes, you don’t have cruise control, and so you have to monitor your blood sugar, watch what you’re eating, take your medicine — there’s a lot more involved in staying at the right speed,” Yutzy said.

The drugs have to be injected, but Oster said it’s no big deal for most diabetics because the needles are tiny.

“The girls at work, when I stick my fingers, say, ‘OK, let me get out of the room!’ But it doesn’t hurt,” she said.

Patients still have to watch their diet, exercise and monitor their other drugs.

“It has taken a long time to bring this drug to market, but those of us in the diabetes world are very excited about it,” Oster said.

Oster has only been taking Symlin for two weeks, but she said she already feels positive results.

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