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What Is Pramlintide Used For?

Using Pramlintide for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes usually begins in young children and teenagers. People with this type of diabetes have a pancreas that doesn't produce enough insulin -- or stops producing it altogether. This means they need to have insulin on a regular basis to help keep their blood sugar at the right level.
Diabetes research scientists have discovered that the same cells that produce insulin also make amylin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar. Due to the damage in the pancreas, people with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough amylin.
Taking pramlintide to replace the actions of amylin helps to decrease blood sugar levels after meals (known medically as postprandial blood glucose levels). This can help people with type 1 diabetes to lower their blood sugar and decrease the amount of insulin they need to take.

Using Pramlintide for Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. This form of diabetes is very common; it is much more common than type 1 diabetes. The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood, although it is known that obesity and genetics play an important role in its development.
The pancreas produces enough insulin in people who have type 2 diabetes; however, the cells of the body of a person with type 2 diabetes do not respond to insulin as well as they normally should. As a result, the cells do not remove sugar (glucose) from the blood very well. This is why type 2 diabetics have high blood sugar.
Over time, high blood sugar (whether from type 1 or type 2 diabetes) can lead to a number of problems, including diabetic impotence, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and heart disease (see Diabetes Complications). Eventually, the pancreas may also become damaged from having to produce so much insulin over a long period of time.
People with damage to the pancreas need to take insulin, as the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin. Researchers have discovered that when the pancreas stops producing insulin, it also stops making amylin, a hormone that helps to control blood sugar. Pramlintide acts like amylin in the body and helps to lower blood sugar levels after meals and to reduce the amount of insulin people need to take.
A balanced treatment plan for type 2 diabetes should include a diet and exercise plan (see Diabetic Diet and Diabetes and Exercise). Discuss any diet or exercise changes you should make with your healthcare provider. Even though pramlintide is injected, it is not a form of insulin and cannot replace insulin.
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