Byetta (also known by its generic name, exenatide) belongs to a class of drugs called incretin mimetics. Like its name suggests, this medication mimics the action of a natural hormone called incretin, which helps to keep your body’s blood sugar levels under control.

Overview of Byetta (generic game: Exenatide)

Who should use this medicine?
This drug is only for people with type 2 diabetes. Whether used alone or with other medicines, Byetta is not a substitute for insulin.

What does it do?
Byetta works in several ways. Its main job is to trigger the pancreas to release insulin when glucose levels rise, especially after eating. It also hampers the production of glucagon in the liver and slows digestion, freeing less stored sugars into your bloodstream.

How do I use Byetta?
This medication is injected under the skin in the thigh, abdomen or upper arm twice a day, usually within an hour of eating breakfast, and then again before your evening meal. Byetta should not be injected after a meal, as it will be less effective in controlling blood sugar levels.

Talk with your doctor about proper preparation and self-injection techniques. Your pharmacist can give you tips on how to store your medicines and safely discard used needles.

How much do I need?
Because each person is different, dosage amounts vary based on your condition and how you respond to treatment. You’ll get the most benefit from Byetta by using it regularly, as recommended by your doctor.

What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, be sure to take the next dose at the prescribed time. Don’t double your dosage to make up for the one you missed.

Possible side effects

Although many people don’t experience discomfort, common side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea or vomiting, usually until your body gets used to the medication. In rare cases, this drug may cause inflammation of the pancreas. If you experience any unusual or extreme symptoms, get medical assistance right away.

Safety precautions

Even if you’re taking Byetta and insulin at the same time, do not mix the two drugs in the same vial or syringe.
Check your glucose levels regularly, especially before and after meals. Let your doctor know if your blood sugar spikes too high or drops too low, as your dosage may need to be adjusted. Symptoms to watch for include sweating, fast heartbeat, headache, dizziness, blurred vision or drowsiness.

Drug interactions

Before you use this medication, your care team will need to know your medical history and any allergies you have. Tell your doctor all of the prescription and non-prescription medicines you use, especially antibiotics and birth control pills.
The options for diabetes treatment grow as researchers continue to discover effective, new medications. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each drug to decide the best path for you.