In studies, once-a-week extended-release exenatide was compared to twice-a-day Byetta®, which contains a short-acting version of the same active ingredient. Extended-release exenatide was more effective than Byetta at lowering fasting blood glucose levels and lowering hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
In addition, people lost more weight with extended-release exenatide, compared with Byetta. However, the amount of weight loss was modest; people using extended-release exenatide lost about five pounds over 24 weeks.
Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with extended-release exenatide include the following:
- Extended-release exenatide comes as an injection. It is injected just under the skin (subcutaneously) once a week.
- It is best to inject this medicine into areas of the skin that have a layer of fat underneath. This includes the thigh, the upper arm, or stomach (away from the navel). Try to rotate the injection sites; do not inject in the same place twice in a row.
- This medication comes as a dry powder and a separate liquid; you will need to mix each dose just before use. Follow the directions closely, and wait to mix it until immediately before use.
- Extended-release exenatide comes in a kit with everything you need to mix and inject the dose. Two needles are provided, but only one is necessary (the other is a backup). Do not use any other needles or other components that did not come with the kit.
- Make sure your healthcare provider teaches you exactly how to inject the drug. This includes:
- How to prepare the skin
- How to prepare and mix the injection
- How to inject the medication
- What to do with your used needles (this may vary, depending on the local laws and regulations).
If you are not comfortable with any part of the process, please let your healthcare provider know.
- For extended-release exenatide to work properly, it must be used as prescribed.