Insulin Pump Demystified

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Appreciating Symlin

In my last post, I mentioned that part of what's been helping me to manage my blood sugars lately is learning to work with the nuances of symlin. I've been injecting symlin for the past several months and find myself appreciating its effectiveness more and more as I learn to work with it better.

For those of you who haven't read up on symlin yet, I really encourage you to do so at For those of us living with Type 1, symlin is the first "medication" to come along since insulin to help us live with diabetes. In fact, symlin is a hormone that along with insulin is lacking in people with diabetes.

The trick for me in taking symlin has been learning how much I need to cut back on my bolus to come out with an even post-meal blood sugar. I started out taking the recommended 2 units of symlin and have now worked up to ten and find that I need to cut my meal bolus by about 40%, and take part of my bolus as a two-hour extended blous. It's been a process of record-keeping and mistake making to get me to this equation. I've had some nights where I've bolused more insulin with my symlin and come out with a post-dinner low and other nights where I took too small a bolus and ended up with a post-dinner blood sugar of 220--250.

But now that I have my equation, my one hour post-meal blood sugars are much more often in the normal range than ever before. Because I rarely eat 30 grams of carb at breakfast or lunch, symlin has only been part of my dinner plan. And I still don't pack it up and take it along with me anywhere--I just hate the inconvenince of having to pull out a syringe in a public place before I eat. I'm much happier just pressing a button, thank you.

But since I've found my "magic equation", I'm tempted to start packing up my bottle and syringe when I hit the road. And yes: if you've heard about symlin's other benefit--appetite suppression--it is true. I feel more full after eating dinner when I;ve taken symlin and am less prone to go for after-dinner snacking. Very nice!

Any other symlin users reading this? What has your experience been like?

In peace,


  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    I've been on symlin for about 2 weeks and I LOVE IT. I'm amazed at my readings with it.

    I do find that I have to do a combo bolus with it and my ratio's are 1/2 what they are without Symlin.

    I'm still in the trial and error of figuring a good upfront bolus and extended bolus.

    Appetite is definitely surpressed which is also adding to the bolus issues. I'm finding that I can only eat about 1/2 what I used to.

  • At 8:59 PM, Blogger GabrielleK-M said…

    Hi Sarah--

    It sounds like you're doing great already--it was a good month until I felt my ratios were right on.

    I think that when I take symlin that I eat about 2/3 of what I would have eaten without taking it. That has been challenging for me, too, in terms of taking the right bolus.

    Thanks for sharing your feedback! Gabrielle

  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger dm1 said…


  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger dm1 said…

    Hello there!

    I've been on Symlin for a year, and I can't say enough about it. This drug has completely changed my life. My sugars have never been better, and I've lost 30 lbs. I know a lot about this drug and diabetes as I was in studies at DRI all my life. Love to help.


  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger GabrielleK-M said…

    Thank you for your posting! It is great to hear about people who can speak from their experiences. Wow--losing 30 lbs is amazing!

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Dtac09 said…

    Hi, I'm trying to decide if Symlin is right for me. However I am worried about the severe lows. With close monitoring and eating correctly, are the low bloodsugars hard to handle??


  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger Bernard said…


    Thanks for the information on Symlin. I'm hoping to start it this weekend. Initially I'll probably just use it for dinners until I get some idea of how to use it effectively.

    I'm excited about this new tool in my diabetes toolkit, and I'm trying to shortcut using it effectively without introducing too much risk. So...

    Did you find an effective way to keep records to help you figure things out? For example, did you do a 1-hour post meal test and then a 2-hour post meal test, or was something else more effective.



  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger lizzardth said…

    I have been using Symlin for 1 week now. I'm still at the small dose of 2.5 units, taking it before any meal that's "worthy" - which I have deemed to be 30 grams of CHO or more.
    I have noticed the decreased appetite after taking it, and even between. My snacking has come to a hault, and I feel so much more balanced. I can't wait for the weight loss aspect to kick in!!
    I have to reduce my bolus by 30%...and I am still learning what works and what doesn't work with all of it. And that will come in time as you all have pointed out.

  • At 5:02 PM, Blogger DJJ said…

    What is the best time to take Symlin pre-meal (1minute-1hour?)
    I haven't started yet. Came home with a vial today. Thanks. DJJ

  • At 11:38 PM, Blogger Joseph said…

    I had some problems with Symlin originally. The main problems was that I was dropping too low and the nausea was not going away. But after continuously high blood sugars after eating > 40g carbs per meal, I had to reconsider. I may be the only one that does this, but after experimenting, figured out that I could stick with 5 u dose of Symlin and take my regular bolus amount (Novolog) whenever I eat more than 40g of carbs. This works wonderfully for me and I don't feel nausea. I am dissappionted to hear that the dose on the Symlin pen is preset because I need to take less. Anyway, I am sure it will do lots of good for others.


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