Byetta is a pre-filled injection treatment for type 2 diabetes. You’ll usually take it when metformin, or metformin alongside other treatments, isn’t working to control your blood sugar levels as well as it could do.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by your body not being able to make enough insulin to control your blood sugar levels properly. Byetta works to help your body increase its insulin production when your blood sugar is high.
How does Byetta work?
Byetta’s active ingredient, exenatide, is a GLP-1 agonist (or incretin mimetic). When you take Byetta, it mimics the action of incretins (natural hormones produced in your gut) to stimulate your pancreas to produce more insulin once you’ve eaten. It also reduces the action of glucagon and slows your absorption of glucose.
As with other GLP-1 agonists, Byetta has also been shown to reduce appetite, which can help with weight loss if one of the risk factors for your diabetes is obesity.
What doses of Byetta are there?
There are two available strengths of Byetta: 5mcg and 10mcg. You might be advised to start on the 5mcg dose at first, using it twice a day. If this dose isn’t working as hoped, then you’ll probably need to switch to the 10mcg dose (also twice a day).
How to use Byetta
You should always take Byetta exactly as instructed by our clinician.
Byetta should be used less than an hour before both your morning and evening meals, with at least six hours between them. Don’t use it after your meals.
You should inject Byetta under your skin, either on your upper leg, stomach or upper arm. If you’re using Byetta and insulin then you’ll need to make two separate injections.
You won’t need to adjust your Byetta dose based on your blood sugar levels, but if you’re using sulphonylurea or insulin then you might be advised to check your blood sugar levels in order to adjust those doses. You’ll probably need to reduce your dose of insulin and monitor your blood sugar levels to make sure you avoid hyperglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.
If you’re taking Byetta for the first time then a clinician should show you how to use it before you use it yourself. Your treatment will also come with a detailed user guide, with pictures showing you how to use Byetta.
You’ll also need to use a new needle each time you take Byetta, never share it with anyone else.
How long does it take Byetta to work?
In the short-term, Byetta should get to work within two hours to help your pancreas to produce insulin and control your blood sugar levels when you eat.
Over the long-term, Byetta has shown that it can significantly reduce your HbA1c (the test used to measure your average blood sugar levels over the last two to three months) after 24 weeks.
What should I do if I make a mistake when using Byetta?
Using too much Byetta can be dangerous for your health. If you use more than you should, seek medical help straight away.
If you forget a dose of Byetta, simply skip that dose and carry on as normal - don’t double up on your next dose to make up for the missed one.
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How is Byetta different from other treatments for diabetes?
There are a range of treatments for diabetes, and the type of treatment that you’re prescribed can depend on what type of diabetes you have, as well as the stage of your condition. You’ll most likely start on metformin - a type of medicine known as a biguanide - if lifestyle changes alone can’t help your condition.
If this doesn’t work, then there are a range of other types of medicine that you might be prescribed to help you control your blood sugar levels, such as sulphonylureas, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and DPP-4 inhibitors. All of these types of treatment will work in slightly different ways, and might be more or less suitable for you depending on your needs. Sometimes it can take a little trial and error to find a treatment that’s most effective for you, and some people need to take a combination of different treatments.
Is Byetta similar to any other treatments?
Byetta belongs to a class of medicines called incretin mimetics. Other treatments within this category include Bydureon and Victoza. Bydureon contains the same active ingredient as Byetta, but in a higher-dose, prolonged-release form (which means you only need to use it once a week). Whereas other incretin mimetics, such as Victoza, contain different active ingredients, which might work better or worse for you based on how you respond to them.
Which dose of Byetta should I use?
You’ll typically be prescribed the lower dose of Byetta at first to see how you get on with it, before graduating to the higher dose if our clinician feels as though it could be working better to control your blood glucose levels.
Do I need a prescription for Byetta?
Yes, you need a prescription for Byetta. This is because it isn’t suitable for everyone, and you’ll need to be monitored periodically while you use it. A clinician is also going to want to make sure that you know how to safely use the pen before you do it on your own.
Why should I buy Byetta online with Treated?
Finding the best diabetes treatment for you can be tough. That’s why we offer effective treatments alongside tailored advice. We’ll send your treatment to you promptly, securely and discreetly, and be in touch once you’ve received it to check everything’s going okay with it.
Our prescription reminders also mean that you won’t need to worry about running out of your regular treatment, and if you have any questions or concerns at any time, you can simply log into your account and send one of our experts a message.
Rosenstock, J., Raccah, D., Koranyi, L., Maffei, L., Boka, G., Miossec, P. and Gerich, J.E. (2013).
Efficacy and Safety of Lixisenatide Once Daily Versus Exenatide Twice Daily in Type 2 Diabetes Inadequately Controlled on Metformin: A 24-week, randomized, open-label, active-controlled study (GetGoal-X). Diabetes Care, [online] 36(10), pp.2945–2951. Available at:
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.
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