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Drugs reference index «Byetta»



Generic name: ExenatideBrand names: Byetta

Why is Byetta prescribed?

Byetta is an injectable antidiabetic medication used to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes whose current medications alone do not adequately control their blood sugar levels. Byetta is prescribed along with oral antidiabetic medications to enhance their effectiveness. It may be used with metformin alone or with metformin and sulfonylurea combined.

Type 2 diabetes occurs in people who are unable to produce or cannot properly utilize insulin. Insulin helps carry sugar from the bloodstream into the body's cells. In diabetes, the unused sugar causes abnormally high sugar levels in the bloodstream. Byetta is in a class of drugs known as incretin mimetics because it mimics the action of incretins—natural substances found in the body that help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Byetta stimulates cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, while also decreasing the amount of sugar the produced by the liver. In addition, it slows the passage of food from the stomach, thus slowing the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Byetta also decreases the appetite, which can help with weight control.

Most important fact about Byetta

Your doctor has prescribed Byetta for your type 2 diabetes in addition to a plan that includes other antidiabetic medications and very specific dietary and exercise guidelines, and careful blood sugar monitoring. Failure to follow these guidelines or to take all of your medications as prescribed can result in serious and potentially life-threatening complications. Byetta cannot be used as a substitute for insulin in people with type 1 diabetes who need insulin to control their diabetes.

How should you take Byetta?

Use the Byetta prefilled injection pen exactly as prescribed. A medical professional who is knowledgeable in the education and management of diabetes will instruct you in the use of Byetta. You should inject your dose of Byetta in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm within the one-hour period (60 minutes) before your morning and evening meals. Do not inject Byetta after a meal.

Your doctor may adjust your dose of Byetta or the other antidiabetic medications you take along with Byetta, depending on your response. Do not increase or decrease the dose on your own.

Pen needles for Byetta are not included with your prescription; you must purchase them separately.

  • If you miss a dose...If you miss a dose of Byetta, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once or increase your next dose.
  • Storage instructions...Store the Byetta pen in the refrigerator away from light and according to label instructions. Do not freeze Byetta or use product that has been frozen. Discard the pen after 30 days, even if there is still some medication left. Be sure to remove the needle from the Byetta pen before returning it to the refrigerator for storage. Medication can leak out through the needle and air bubbles can form in the cartridge.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Byetta.

  • Side effects may include:Diarrhea, dizziness, headache, feeling jittery, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting

Why should Byetta not be prescribed?

Do not take Byetta if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it or any of its other ingredients.

Special warnings about Byetta

Byetta used in combination with sulfonylurea antidiabetic drugs may result in dangerously low blood sugar. If you experience symptoms of headache, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, confusion, irritability, confusion, hunger, fast heartbeat, sweating, or feeling jittery, follow your doctor's instructions for treating low blood sugar right away.

Byetta cannot be used as a substitute for insulin and is not recommended for use in type 1 diabetes or to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition in which extremely high blood sugar levels and a lack of insulin, if left untreated, can lead to coma and death.

Byetta should not be used if you have severe kidney disease or severe digestive, intestinal, or stomach problems, especially when food empties from the stomach too slowly (gastroparesis).

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Byetta

Byetta slows the rate that food passes from the stomach and may affect the absorption of other medications that you take by mouth. Your doctor may change the timing of your oral medicines and have you take them either on an empty stomach between meals or with a snack in between breakfast and dinner—not at the same mealtime as Byetta.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Byetta in pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should not use Byetta unless your doctor determines that the benefits outweigh the risks.

It is not known whether Byetta appears in human breast milk or poses a risk to your breastfeeding child. If Byetta is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop nursing until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage for Byetta


The usual starting dose of Byetta is 5 micrograms, injected twice daily in the one-hour period before eating breakfast and dinner. Each dose should be injected into the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Do not use Byetta after a meal. Depending on your response, your doctor may increase your dose to 10mcg. The maximum daily dose is 20 micrograms.

Byetta is supplied in 5-microgram and 10 microgram prefilled injection pens. Each pen contains 60 doses for a 30-day supply.

Byetta is a clear liquid and should be not be used if it contains particles or appears cloudy or discolored.


If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency treatment immediately.

  • Symptoms of overdose may include:Extremely low blood sugar, severe nausea, and severe vomiting