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Effects of the Drug

Several studies have looked at the effects of exenatide on type 2 diabetes.
Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test used to measure long-term blood sugar control. For people without diabetes, HbA1c results are usually less than 6 percent, while people with diabetes usually have higher results. In studies, people taking exenatide (in combination with other diabetes medications) lowered their HbA1c by 0.4 to 0.9 percent, on average, while the HbA1c levels in people not taking the drug increased.
Studies have shown that the higher the HbA1c, the greater the chance for developing long-term problems related to diabetes. This includes problems such as heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and diabetic nephropathy. By getting blood sugar levels under control with exenatide, it may be possible to decrease the chances for developing these diabetes complications.
In clinical studies, people taking exenatide lost more weight than people who were not taking it. However, the amount of weight loss was modest; people on the drug lost about two to six pounds over 30 weeks (see Byetta for Weight Loss).

When and How to Take Exenatide

Some general considerations for when and how to take exenatide include the following:
  • The medication comes in an injectable form. It is given just under the skin of the thigh, abdomen (stomach), or upper arm. Make sure your healthcare provider explains exactly how to inject exenatide.
  • Exenatide should be injected twice a day, before the two main meals, at least six hours apart.
  • The medication should be injected within 60 minutes before the meal. It should not be taken after the meal or more than 60 minutes before the meal.
  • The dosages should be taken at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be injected as prescribed. Exenatide will not work if you stop using it.
Type 2 Diabetes: Fact or Fiction

Exenatide Drug Information

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