What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking exenatide if you have:
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- A history of diabetic ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition that may occur with uncontrolled diabetes)
- Diabetic gastroparesis (a slowing down of the digestive tract due to diabetes)
- Other digestive tract conditions
- A history of pancreatitis
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Byetta and Pregnancy)
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings for Exenatide for more information, including information on who should not take the drug.)
How Does Exenatide Work?Exenatide is an incretin mimetic. This means that it mimics the actions of incretin hormones in the body. As an incretin mimetic, exenatide increases insulin production in response to meals and decreases the amount of glucose (sugar) that the liver produces. The medication also slows down the emptying of food from the stomach, which reduces the amount of food that people eat.
Because incretin hormones are more active in response to higher blood sugar levels (and are less active in response to low blood sugar), the risk of dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is low with exenatide. However, combining exenatide with other diabetes medications to lower blood sugar can increase the risk of hypoglycemia (see Byetta and Blood Sugar).