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?
Is exenatide available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for exenatide?
What are the side effects of exenatide?
The most common side effects of exenatide are:
- nausea (nausea from exenatide is more common with the higher doses and decreases over time.)
- hypoglycemia (excessively low blood glucose),
- nervousness and,
- stomach discomfort.
Other important side effects include:
- decreased appetite,
- acid reflux, and
- increased sweating.
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.
What is the dosage for exenatide?
The initial dose of exenatide is 5 mcg injected under the skin (subcutaneously) twice daily, 60 minutes before breakfast or dinner. Exenatide should not be administered after a meal. Each dose should be injected in the thigh, abdomen or upper arm. The dose can be increased to 10 mcg twice daily after 1 month of therapy.
Which drugs or supplements interact with exenatide?
Exenatide slows down transit of food and drugs through the intestine and, therefore, can reduce the absorption of drugs that are taken orally. To avoid this interaction, administer oral medications one hour before exenatide is administered. Orally administered drugs that need to be administered with food should be given with a light meal or snack when exenatide is not administered.
Is exenatide safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of exenatide in pregnant women. Most experts agree that insulin is the drug of choice in pregnant women with diabetes.
There are no adequate studies of exenatide in nursing mothers, and it is not known whether exenatide is excreted in human breast milk.
What else should I know about exenatide?
What preparations of exenatide are available?
Multiple dose pre-filled pen: 1.2 mL, 5 mcg per dose (60 doses) or 2.4 mL, 10 mcg per dose (60 doses)
How should I keep exenatide stored?
Exenatide should be refrigerated between 2-8 C (36-46 F) and protected from light. After first use, it may be stored at room temperature and should not be frozen or used if frozen. The pen should be discarded 30 days after its first use.
Exenatide (Byetta) is an injectable drug prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Related Disease Conditions
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that may be reversible with diet and lifestyle changes. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, and an unusual odor to your urine. Most people don't know they have type 2 diabetes until they have a routine blood test. Treatment options include medications, a type 2 diabetes diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Diabetes Treatment: Medication, Diet, and Insulin
The major goal in treating diabetes is controlling elevated blood sugar without causing abnormally low levels of blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is treated with: insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is first treated with: weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugar, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin medications are considered.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes: Differences
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic condition in which a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. Over 29.1 million children and adults in the US have diabetes. Of that, 8.1 million people have diabetes and don't even know it. Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent, juvenile) is caused by a problem with insulin production by the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) is caused by: Eating a lot of foods and drinking beverages with simple carbohydrates (pizza, white breads, pastas, cereals, pastries, etc.) and simple sugars (donuts, candy, etc.) Consuming too many products with artificial sweeteners (We found out that they are bad for us!) Lack of activity Exercise Stress Genetics While the signs and symptoms of both types of diabetes are the same, which include: Increased urination Increased hunger Increased thirst Unexplained weight loss. However, the treatments are different. Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent, which means a person with this type of diabetes requires treatment with insulin. People with type 2 diabetes require medication, lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.
Tips for Managing Type 1 and 2 Diabetes at Home
Managing your diabetes is a full time commitment. The goal of diabetic therapy is to control blood glucose levels and prevent the complications of diabetes. Information about exercise, diet, and medication will help you manage your diabetes better. Blood glucose reagent strips, blood glucose meters, urine glucose tests, tests for urinary ketones, continuous glucose sensors, and Hemoglobin A1C testing information will enable you to mange your diabetes at home successfully.
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