exenatide, Byetta

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is exenatide, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Exenatide is an injectable drug that reduces the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is used for treating type 2 diabetes. Exenatide belongs in a class of drugs called incretin mimetics because these drugs mimic the effects of incretins. Incretins, such as human-glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), are hormones that are produced and released into the blood by the intestine in response to food. GLP-1 increases the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, slows absorption of glucose from the gut, and reduces the action of glucagon. (Glucagon is a hormone that increases glucose production by the liver.) All three of these actions reduce levels of glucose in the blood. In addition, GLP-1 reduces appetite. Exenatide is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that resembles and acts like GLP-1. In studies, exenatide-treated patients achieved lower blood glucose levels and experienced weight loss. Exenatide was approved by the FDA in May 2005.

What brand names are available for exenatide?

Byetta, Bydureon

Is exenatide available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No.

Do I need a prescription for exenatide?

Yes.

What are the side effects of exenatide?

The most common side effects of exenatide are:

Other important side effects include:

There have been reports of acute pancreatitis associated with the use of exenatide. Patients developing severe, persistent abdominal pain should seek prompt medical attention. If pancreatitis is suspected, exenatide should be discontinued and not started again until pancreatitis has been excluded.

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