My wife told me about this last night, so I had to Google it and post it so my medical/sceptical blogger friends can take a look and comment:
Gila Monster An Unusual Help For Diabetics
(KDKA) PITTSBURGH Deborah Keene of the South Hills knows all about diabetes, and now she's using something that's really changed her life - the new drug Byetta.I am fascinated by venom. I am even more fascinated by medicinal uses of venom. Can someone tell me more about this?
"I started out with oral medications. They didn't provide the level of control that was optimum and Dr. Gordon suggested I might want to start using Byetta, which is an injectable," said Keene.
Byetta is a medication that works differently than pills or insulin. It helps your body produce the right amount of insulin at the right time.
Now made synthetically, it originally was discovered from a most unusual source - a gila monster.
"They produce venom. It's a modified saliva under their tongue and that's what they use as a defense mechanism," explained Henry Kacprzyk of the Pittsburgh Zoo. "If you get a bite from this guy, you can die, but the truth is you'll probably just wish you were dead."
But through research, it was found that this substance had a very positive effect, in particular for diabetics.
"It's a first in its class of drugs that's been approved for diabetes that affects the mind-gut interaction, it affects our satiety center, reduces our appetite and allows us to lose weight," said Dr. Murray Gordon, director of endocrinology at Allegheny General Hospital.
For Keene, it's really improved the quality of her life.
"It has done a really great job. My glucose levels have dropped back to pretty much where a person who didn't have diabetes would be," she said.
Healthy foods and a good exercise program can help control diabetes, but the use of this newly approved medication, Byetta, can really help some patients manage their condition. And, as a bonus, in many cases patients loose weight.
Dr. Paul Nemiroff is a nationally-recognized surgeon who specializes in head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgery. Watch KDKA-TV for his expert advice on today's medical issues.