Diabetes Home > Symlin and Blood Sugar

Side effects are possible with Symlin, and blood sugar levels can go too low or too high. Because either condition is potentially serious, prevention is the best treatment. People should be aware of possible symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels while taking Symlin. Low blood sugar can cause shakiness, cold sweats, and blurred vision. Symptoms of high blood sugar include increased urination, increased thirst, and nausea or vomiting.

Blood Sugar Changes With Symlin: An Overview

One of the possible side effects with Symlin® (pramlintide acetate) is its effect on blood sugar levels. In general, the drug does not cause blood sugar levels to drop too low (hypoglycemia) when used by itself. However, using Symlin with insulin increases the risk of low blood sugar. It is also possible for blood sugar levels to go too high (hyperglycemia) in people taking the drug.

Symlin and Low Blood Sugar

When used by itself, Symlin does not increase the risk of low blood sugar by much. However, the drug is intended to be used in conjunction with insulin and not alone. Taking Symlin and insulin together can increase your risk of low blood sugar. In studies of people with type 1 diabetes, up to 16.8 percent of people taking the medications together had low blood sugar (compared to 10.8 percent of people who were just taking insulin). For people with type 2 diabetes, the risk of low blood sugar levels when combining the drugs was lower (8.2 percent).
To avoid dangerously low blood sugar levels, your healthcare provider will need to reduce your insulin dose when starting Symlin (see Symlin Dosage), and you will need to test your blood sugar levels often. Taking Symlin with other medications, including some medications for conditions other than diabetes, can increase your risk of low blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, it is always a good idea to ask your healthcare provider if any medication you are starting or stopping will have an effect on your blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can vary, depending on a number of factors, including how low the blood sugar levels are. Examples of early symptoms include:
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Blurry vision.
More severe symptoms include:
  • Changes in behavior, such as irritability
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Loss of life.
If you develop any possible symptoms of low blood sugar while taking Symlin, contact your healthcare provider immediately, or seek emergency medical care and stop taking the medicine. If your healthcare provider believes that low blood sugar is causing your symptoms, he or she may recommend that you treat it immediately by eating or drinking something with sugar in it, such as orange juice, hard candy, a tablespoon of honey, or even a tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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