Gila Monster Venom?
By Christine Miller, MS, RD/LD, CDE
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.