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A New Medicine Derived From a Gila Monster

A brand new medicine has been introduced. It is made from the Gila monster's venom, and is called Exenatide. Like insulin it is given by a shot and is used for those who have diabetes and also to help them lose wieght.

Gila Monster Venom?

By Christine Miller, MS, RD/LD, CDE
eDiets Diabetes Expert

February 8, 2005

 

Losing weight and lowering blood glucose with Gila monster venom? There is a new up-and-coming drug for people with diabetes, and if you are into natural medicine, this is about as natural as it gets.

This potential new treatment for diabetes is originally derived from the saliva of the Gila monster. Exenatide is the commercial name given to this new drug which not only helps control blood sugars, but also helps those with diabetes lose weight.

Exenatide, like insulin, must be administered as an injection, since the protein components of the medication would be broken down by the digestive tract if taken by mouth. Exenatide has been used to help those already taking diabetes medications who have been unable to reach blood glucose goals.

Overall, Exenatide reduced the A1c, a marker of blood glucose control over two to three months, by 1.1 percent. Additionally, it produced an average weight loss of about eight pounds over 52 weeks. Exenatide has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. If approved, it could be available within a year.