In adults with type 2 diabetes, exenatide is used to help increase insulin production after meals and decrease the amount of sugar the liver produces in order to lower blood sugar levels. By lowering blood sugar, exenatide can help decrease the chances of developing problems associated with high blood sugar, such as heart disease and kidney failure. At this time, there are no universally accepted off-label exenatide uses, and the medication has not been approved for use in children.
Exenatide Uses: An OverviewExenatide (Byetta®) is an injectable prescription medication licensed to treat type 2 diabetes. It can be used by itself or with other diabetes drugs.
Using Exenatide for Type 2 DiabetesType 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes (see Diabetes Types). It is also sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the cells of the body do not respond to insulin as well as they normally should. As a result, the cells do not remove sugar from the blood very well. This is why type 2 diabetics have high blood sugar.
Over time, high blood sugar can lead to a number of problems, including diabetic impotence, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and heart disease (see Diabetes Complications). The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood, although it is known that obesity and genetics play an important role.
Exenatide is an incretin mimetic. This means that exenatide mimics the actions of the 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. Exenatide also slows the emptying of food from the stomach, which decreases the amount of food that people eat.
Exenatide is used to treat people with type 2 diabetes who are having trouble controlling their blood sugar levels.