Side Effects of Byetta (Exenatide)

The prescription diabetes medication exenatide is marketed under the brand name Byetta. Diabetes mellitus, or type two diabetes, is an incurable condition that inhibits the body’s ability to produce insulin or utilize it properly. For people with type two diabetes, Byetta is an injected drug that helps stimulate insulin to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. The side effects of Byetta or exenatide include nausea, acid reflux, diarrhea, and weakness.

More than 20 million Americans have type two diabetes. Seniors face the highest risk, though the prevalence of diabetes in young people is on the rise. In type two diabetes, the body does not produce enough or effectively utilize existing insulin. According to the National Institutes of Health, Byetta exenatide helps the pancreas produce insulin and reduces appetite by slowing stomach emptying. Byetta is typically prescribed in tandem with other medications as well as orders for diet and exercise to fight diabetes.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common side effects of Byetta or exenatide are nausea, burping and acid reflux, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually reduce in intensity over time as the body becomes acclimated with the medication. Other fairly common side effects of Byetta include clumsiness or shakiness, headache, dizziness, sweating, and weakness or lack of energy.

More serious side effects of Byetta exenatide include dark urine, dry mouth, flu-like symptoms, cough, abdominal pain, depression, and irritation at the site of injection, per WebMD. Sometimes, the effects of exenatide are exaggerated and hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can develop. Hypoglycemia is characterized by being very hungry, persistent sweating, nervousness, shakiness, blurred vision, seizures, and an accelerated heart rate. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Byetta can also cause acute pancreatitis. Rarely, exenatide can cause an allergic reaction with symptoms like hives, swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention immediately in the event of any serious side effects of Byetta.

Byetta can also react with certain medications so they should not be taken together without approval from your doctor. These include nonprescription drugs like aspirin and prescription medications like warfarin and paracetamol. Some diabetes drugs are unsafe when taken together. Talk to your doctor before using any combination of drugs.

Byetta, also known by the generic name exenatide, is a prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of type two diabetes. Exenatide helps the body make better use of insulin to regulate blood sugar. Sometimes, this can cause complications by bringing blood sugar too low. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of Byetta and tell them about any other medications you use before taking the drug.


Exenatide Injection. National Institutes of Health.

Exenatide (Injection). University of Maryland Medical Center.

Exenatide – Injection. WebMD.

Exenatide (Subcutaneous Route). Mayo Clinic.

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