Byetta (exenatide)

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Brand Name

Byetta {Amylin}

Generic Name

exenatide, pronounced ex EN a tide


What is Byetta?

Byetta is an injectable diabetes medication for people with type 2 diabetes. Byetta can help to control your blood sugar levels by helping your pancreas produce insulin more efficiently. Patients with type 2 diabetes may be prescribed Byetta alongside other diabetes medications, but Byetta should not be used to treat patients with type 1 diabetes.

Byetta may also be used for purposes not described in this medication guide.


Key Facts about Byetta

You must use Byetta within 60 minutes (1 hour) before you eat a meal. You should not use
Byetta after eating a meal.

You should not use Byetta together with a fast-acting or short-acting insulin, such as insulin aspart (NovoLOG), insulin glulisine (Apidra), insulin lispro (HumaLOG), or regular insulin (HumuLIN R, NovoLIN R)

You should not use Byetta together with Bydureon.

Avoid drinking alcohol while on Byetta, as it can lower your blood sugar.

If you take any antibiotic you should take it at least 1 hour before you take Byetta.

Byetta is in FDA pregnancy category C. You should not use Byetta if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or nursing. We do not yet know the effects Byetta has on an unborn baby. Because we do not know if Byetta passes into breast milk you should not breast-feed while using

Byetta may make birth control pills less effective. If you are taking birth control pills you should take your pill at least 1 hour before you use your Byetta injection.

You should always keep a source of sugar available in case you experience symptoms of low blood sugar. Sources of sugar include hard candy, orange juice, glucose gel, or milk.

Byetta is only a part of a complete program of treatment to help your blood sugar condition. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan for you which may include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, and dental care, as well as regular testing of your blood sugar. You should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

You will need to check your blood sugar often, particularly during a time of illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, skip meals or are under great stress. These factors can affect your glucose levels. Tell your doctor if your levels are not where they should be and you may need a dose adjustment of Byetta. Your doctor will decide if you need a dosage change, and how much of a change you may need. Do not attempt to change your dose of Byetta without consulting your doctor first.


Before You Take Byetta

If you are allergic to exenatide you should not use Byetta.

If you have a history of kidney disease, are on dialysis or if you have had a kidney transplant you should tell your doctor before starting treatment with Byetta.

If you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis or if you have a stomach disorder that causes slow digestion you should not use Byetta.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of pancreatitis or gall stones before starting treatment with Byetta.

Tell your doctor if you have had a history of alcoholism or a history of high triglycerides before you start Byetta.

If you use Byetta with oral diabetes medications that also lower your blood sugar, you
make be more likely to develop hypoglycemia . Before using Byetta, tell your doctor if you take chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glimepiride (Amaryl, Avandaryl, Duetact), glipizide (Glucotrol, Metaglip), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glucovance), tolazamide (Tolinase), or tolbutamide (Orinase).


Byetta Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:

  • birth control pills
  • blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin)
  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • diuretics
  • ergot medications like ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot) or dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal Nasal Spray)
  • heart or blood pressure medications like digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps), disopyramide (Norpace), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl) and quinidine (Quin-G)
  • levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levothroid)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
  • lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor)
  • pain medications
  • pimozide (Orap)
  • seizure medication like carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol), divalproex (Depakote), ethosuximide (Zarontin), phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor)
  • sirolimus (Rapamune)
  • tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl)

You should tell your doctor about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Byetta

You should use Byetta exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It is important that you do not use Byetta in larger or smaller amounts, or for longer or shorter than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label and follow any dose changes carefully if your doctor instructs you to change your dose.

Byetta should be injected twice a day, before your morning and evening meals. You must use Byetta within 60 minutes (1 hour) before eating your meals.

You should take your Byetta doses at least 6 hours apart.

You should not inject Byetta after eating a meal.

Byetta is a medication that is injected under your skin. You may be taught to use the injections at home. You should not self-inject Byetta if you do not fully understand how to give yourself the injection and properly dispose of the used needles, syringes, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

Byetta is available in a prefilled injection pen with a “Pen User Manual”, which has instructions for using the pen and injecting the medicine. You should follow these directions carefully. You should ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

You should not share an injection pen with another person. If you share an injection pen you put yourself at risk for diseases like hepatitis or HIV to pass from one person to another.

The disposable needles should be used one time only. You must throw away all used needles in a puncture-proof container. If you do not own a puncture-proof container your pharmacist can tell you how to get one. Be sure to keep used needles and your puncture-proof container away from children and pets.

While you are using Byetta you will need to have your blood sugar checked regularly. Plan to see your doctor often to be sure that Byetta is working for you. You should know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them. These signs are headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, or trouble concentrating.

Keep your injection pen, pen needles, and all medicines out of the reach of children and pets. If the needle is left on your medicine it may leak from the pen or air bubbles may form in the cartridge.

You should store unused injection pens in the refrigerator, protected from light.

You should not freeze Byetta, and throw away any injection pens that have become frozen.

You should not use the Byetta after the expiration date on the label has passed.

You may store your injection pen at room temperature, away from heat and bright light after your first injection. You should not store the Byetta pen with the needle attached.

The Byetta pen should be used for 30 days and then throw it away, even if it still has medication in it.

Byetta is part of a complete program of treatment that your doctor may have prescribed for you. This program may include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and regular monitoring of your blood sugar. You should follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines exactly as your doctor has prescribed.

If you miss a dose of Byetta you should attempt to take the missed dose as long as you have not eaten a meal. Skip the dose if you have already eaten a meal and continue with your next scheduled dose. Never take extra medication to make up for your missed dose.


Byetta Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Byetta and seek emergency medical help immediately:

  • allergic reaction including breathing difficulties, hives and swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue
  • confusion and mood changes
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • increased thirst
  • low blood sugar symptoms like a headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, jittery feeling or a fast heart rate
  • pain that is dull in your middle or lower back
  • swelling and weight gain
  • shortness of breath
  • upper stomach pain that spreads and is severe, may include vomiting
  • urinating less than usual or not at all

Less serious Byetta side effects may include:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • weight loss and loss of appetite

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Byetta. You should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Byetta Description and Dosing

Byetta is available as an injection for subcutaneous use. It is available as a 250 mcg/mL exenatide in:

5 mcg per dose, 60 doses, 1.2 mL prefilled pen

10 mcg per dose, 60 doses, 2.4 mL prefilled pen

Your doctor will decide what dose of Byetta is right for you. Do not attempt to alter or change your dose without your physician’s consent.

If you suspect that you have overdosed with Byetta you should seek emergency help immediately.


Ingredients in Byetta

The main ingredient in Byetta is exenatide.

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The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

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