This week, we’ll wrap up the "gastroparesis series" and focus on other treatments, besides dietary changes, that can be effective. The type and extent of treatment of this diabetes complication varies from person to person and largely depends on the severity of symptoms.
Most people with gastroparesis will benefit from making changes, as discussed last week, in their eating habits and food choices, whether that means switching from eating three meals a day to six meals a day or cutting back on their fat and fiber intake. Other people may need more help, in the form of medication. Let’s look at some of the options.
Drug Management of Gastroparesis
Treating gastroparesis with medicine is certainly an option, but finding the right drug requires trial and error. Also, remember that drugs are not without side effects. Here are the meds commonly used for gastroparesis:
Researchers are looking at other drugs to help treat gastroparesis, including tegaserod (Zelnorm) and octreotide (Sandostatin), but no other medications have as yet been approved at this time. And still other drugs may be used to treat specific symptoms of gastroparesis, such nausea and heartburn.
There are other methods that may be used for treating gastroparesis, including the use of botulinum toxin injections (Botox) and electrical gastric stimulation, whereby a small device is implanted near the stomach wall that delivers electrical impulses. These impulses cause the stomach muscles to contract. Neither of these therapies is widely used, but some medical centers in the U.S. provide them.
If you or someone you care about has gastroparesis, you might check out G-PACT, a nonprofit organization founded by people who have gastroparesis. You can learn more about this condition, stay on top of treatments, and find physicians at www.g-pact.org.
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Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.
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