What is exenatide?

Exenatide is an injectable diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. This medication helps your pancreas produce insulin more efficiently.

Exenatide is used to treat type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes. Other diabetes medicines are sometimes used in combination with exenatide if needed.

Exenatide may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Do not use exenatide to treat type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • problems with digestion; or
  • severe stomach disorders (gastroparesis).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether exenatide is harmful to an unborn baby. Before using exenatide, Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether exenatide passes into breast milk or if it could be harmful to a nursing baby. Do not take exenatide without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.

If you are using any type of antibiotic or birth control pill, take these medicines at least 1 hour before you use exenatide.

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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose can cause severe nausea and vomiting, or signs of low blood sugar (headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, irritability, hunger, fast heartbeat, sweating, and tremor).

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, but only if you have not yet eaten a meal. If you have already eaten a meal, wait until your next scheduled dose (1 hour before a meal) to use the medicine. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using exenatide and call your doctor at once if you have severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, with nausea, vomiting, and a fast heart rate. These could be symptoms of pancreatitis.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • weight loss; or
  • dizziness, headache, or feeling jittery.

Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them:

  • hunger, headache, confusion, irritability;
  • drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, tremors;
  • sweating, fast heartbeat;
  • seizure (convulsions); or
  • fainting, coma (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal).

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Before using exenatide, tell your doctor if you use any oral (taken by mouth) diabetes medications. You may need a dose adjustment:

  • acetohexamide (Dymelor);
  • chlorpropamide (Diabinese);
  • glimepiride (Amaryl);
  • glipizide (Glucotrol);
  • glyburide (DiaBeta);
  • tolazamide (Tolinase); or
  • tolbutamide (Orinase).

Your doctor will tell you if any of your medication doses need to be changed.

There may be other drugs that can interact with exenatide. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Byetta and exenatide

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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