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How can I minimize the side effects of Symlin?

You can minimize the side effects of the diabetes drug Symlin (pramlintide) by following your doctor's instructions carefully. Symlin is used along with insulin by people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to help keep blood sugar from rising too high after eating. The medication, however, can cause your blood sugar to drop too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. People with type 1 diabetes should be particularly aware of this potential side effect.

When you start Symlin, your doctor will instruct you to reduce your doses of insulin before meals to lower the chance of developing low blood sugar. You and your doctor should talk about a plan to treat low blood sugar. For example, you might keep fast-acting sugar candy, glucose tablets, juice or glucagon with you at all times to treat low blood sugar. You should also be aware that drinking alcohol can decrease your blood sugar, so you should talk with your doctor about whether it's safe to drink alcohol while you're taking this drug.

You should take Symlin only before meals. Don't take it if you're going to skip a meal or if your meal will contain less than 250 calories or 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Finally, it's important to be aware of signs that your blood sugar is too low. These include:
  • sweating
  • shakiness
  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • irritability or uncooperativeness
  • loss of consciousness
If you experience these or other signs of low blood sugar, get medical help immediately.