An Alert on Byetta

Read on Diabetes Forecast:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an advisory concerning a possible association between Byetta use and acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, which is potentially life-threatening), saying that doctors should be aware of the connection and “instruct patients taking Byetta to seek prompt medical care if they experience unexplained, persistent, severe abdominal pain, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.” The agency is NOT advising doctors to discontinue use of this product, and people should NOT stop taking it without consulting a health care provider.

Byetta is designed for use by people with type 2 diabetes who also take metformin, sulfonylureas, or thiazolidinediones, and who still need better blood glucose control. It enhances pancreatic insulin production, slows emptying of the stomach, and prevents the liver from making too much glucose, all of which act to lower post-meal glucose. It may also suppress appetite and result in weight loss.

There have been 30 reported cases on pancreatitis among the 70,000 people who have used Byetta; it is not clear if the drug was the direct cause. In the future, information about acute pancreatitis will be listed in the “precautions” section of Byetta’s product label.

Artificial Sugar

Artificial sweeteners have been in my life for a long time. My father was a diabetic, so the names Sucaryl and Hermesetas were known to me since I was a kid. I think I even used them because I wanted to be cool like my daddy. And I’ve also had weight problems all my life, so my mother used artificial sweeteners to lower my calorie intake.

They have developed all kinds of sugar replacements now, and for a while Aspartame was my choice. Then rumors started of how bad it was for your health, blah, blah, blah… To this day I don’t know if it is all true, nor I have really informed myself about it. For about two years I went no-sugar at all… I lost the taste for it, drank my coffee black just like that, and desserts were not part of my diet. I did it to lose weight. Then I couldn’t do it anymore.

Now I’m a diabetic, and while I know sugar just makes part of my carb intake, I prefer to use those grams in something else (like bread… I love bread). So I use artificial sweeteners. I was using Equal for a while because I was familiar with it, even though I’m aware of other things available. Then I decided I was going to give Splenda a try (on a daily basis) since it’s actually made from sugar. I guess I got tired of the Equal taste, and Sweet ‘n’ Low is disgusting!

I now remember when Splenda was introduced. One of my best friends, who is a dietitian, brought a few free samples to my dad. He liked it, but he claimed it upset his stomach. I don’t know if it was the Splenda, or if he was already sick and he associated the new sweetener with it. Anyway… Now I have an upset stomach and I’m wondering if it’s the Splenda. But I also have to keep in mind there is a stomach flu virus around, and that my hubby was sick for a while; so was the kid I take care of.

I guess I’ll wait and see how things go. I like Splenda much better than Equal. And while I know the ideal thing would be not to add more artificial stuff to my body, I don’t think I can go sugarless again.

Avandia Risk

Read on the New York Times very early this morning:

An independent analysis of thousands of older people with diabetes found that those treated with the widely used drug Avandia had significantly elevated risks of heart attack and death.

More information.