Byetta

Byetta treats Type 2 Diabetes. This medication can cause nausea and nausea most commonly occurs when first starting Byetta, but may become less over time.

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Pharmacist Gina Girolami, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Byetta
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Pharmacist Gina Girolami, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Byetta
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Byetta Overview

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Byetta is a prescription medication that is used along with diet and exercise to treat type 2 diabetes. Byetta belongs to a group of medications called incretin mimetics. Byetta works by helping the pancreas to secrete insulin when blood sugar levels are high, decreases the amount of sugar the liver produces, and slows the emptying of the stomach.

Byetta comes in an injectable form to be given just under the skin, twice daily, within an hour before meals.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood sugar.

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Byetta Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Byetta

Byetta is an injectable prescription medicine used to improve blood sugar (glucose) control in adults with type 2 diabetes, when used with a diet and exercise program. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Byetta Drug Class

Byetta is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Byetta

Serious side effects have been reported with Byetta. See "Drug Precautions" section.

The most common side effects of Byetta include:

  • nausea. Nausea most commonly happens when first starting Byetta, but may become less over time.
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • acid stomach or indigestion

This is not a complete list of Byetta side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Byetta Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Byetta slows stomach emptying and can affect medicines that need to pass through the stomach quickly. Byetta may affect the way some medicines work and some other medicines may affect the way Byetta works.

Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • insulin, or any other anti-diabetes medicines
  • birth control pills that are taken by mouth (oral contraceptives). Byetta may lower the amount of the medicine in your blood from your birth control pills and they may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Take your birth control pills at least one hour before your injection of Byetta. If you must take your birth control pills with food, take it with a meal or snack where you do not also take Byetta.
  • an antibiotic. Take antibiotic medicines at least one hour before taking Byetta. If you must take your antibiotic with food, take it with a meal or snack where you do not also take Byetta.
  • warfarin sodium (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • a blood pressure medicine
  • a water pill (diuretic)
  • a pain medicine
  • lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor, Advicor)

This is not a complete list of Byetta drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Byetta Precautions

Serious side effects may occur including:

Heart attack or stroke. It is not known whether Byetta, or other anti-diabetes medications, increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your risk for getting low blood sugar is higher if you take Byetta with another medicine that can cause low blood sugar, such as a sulfonylurea. The dose of your sulfonylurea medicine may need to be lowered while you use Byetta. Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar may include:

  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • hunger
  • fast heart beat
  • sweating
  • feeling jittery

Talk with your healthcare provider about how to treat low blood sugar.

Kidney problems. Byetta may cause new or worse problems with kidney function, including kidney failure. Dialysis or kidney transplant may be needed. While taking Byetta: Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea that will not go away
  • or if you cannot take liquids by mouth. You may be at increased risk for kidney problems. 

Severe allergic reactions can happen with Byetta. Stop taking Byetta, and get medical help right away if you have any symptom of a severe allergic reaction. Do not use Byetta if you have had an allergic reaction to Byetta or any of the other ingredients in it. 

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction with Byetta may include:

  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • problems breathing or swallowing
  • severe rash or itching
  • fainting or feeling dizzy
  • very rapid heartbeat

Pancreatitis. Byetta may cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), a potentially life-threatening condition. Tell your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain and vomiting.

Do not use Byetta if:

  • you or any of your family members have a history of medullary thyroid cancer
  • you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). This is a disease where people have tumors in more than one gland in their body.
  • you have type I diabetes (insulin-dependent). Byetta is not a form of insulin.
  • if you have severe kidney disease, or severe digestive tract conditions

Byetta Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Byetta there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before receiving Byetta, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions including if you:

  • have or have had pancreatitis, stones in your gallbladder (gallstones), a history of alcoholism, or high blood triglyceride levels
  • have severe problems with your stomach, such as delayed emptying of your stomach (gastroparesis) or problems with digesting food
  • have or have had kidney problems, or have had a kidney transplant
  • are allergic to any ingredients in this medication
  • have medullary thyroid cancer
  • have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • have any other medical conditions

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Byetta slows stomach emptying and can affect medicines that need to pass through the stomach quickly. 

Byetta and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Byetta falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans, though. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Pregnancy Registry: Talk to your doctor about enrolling in the pregnancy registry for women who take this medication during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby.

 

Byetta and Lactation

It is not known if Byetta crosses into human milk.

Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Byetta.

 

Byetta Usage

Take Byetta exactly as prescribed

Byetta comes in a prefilled pen injection to be given directly under the skin

Your healthcare provider must teach you how to inject Byetta before you use it for the first time. If you have questions or do not understand the instructions, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

  • Inject your dose of Byetta under the skin (subcutaneous injection) of your upper leg (thigh), stomach area (abdomen), or upper arm as instructed by your healthcare provider. Do not inject into a vein or muscle.
  • Byetta is injected two times each day, at any time within the 60 minutes (1 hour) before your morning and evening meals (or before the two main meals of the day, approximately 6 hours or more apart). Do not take Byetta after your meal.
  • If you miss a dose, skip that dose and take your next dose at the next prescribed time. Do not take an extra dose or increase the amount of your next dose to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you use too much Byetta, call your healthcare provider or poison control center right away. Too much Byetta can cause your blood sugar to drop quickly and you may have symptoms of low blood sugar. You may need medical treatment right away. Too much Byetta can also cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for diet, exercise, and how often to test your blood sugar. If you see your blood sugar increasing during treatment with Byetta, talk to your healthcare provider because you may need to adjust your current treatment plan for your diabetes.

Talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and how to recognize problems that can happen with your diabetes.

Never share your Byetta with another person. You may give an infection to them, or get an infection from them, and Byetta may harm them.

Byetta Dosage

Use Byetta exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The Byetta dose your doctor recommends will be based on the following:

  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication

 

The recommended starting Byetta dose is 5 mcg twice daily, taken before your two main meals of the day, approximately 6 hours or more apart. 

Depending upon your response to the medication, your doctor may decide to increase your dose of Byetta to 10 mcg twice daily after 1 month of therapy.

Byetta Overdose

If you use too much Byetta, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center right away.

  • Too much Byetta can cause your blood sugar to drop quickly and you may have symptoms of low blood sugar. You may need medical treatment right away.
  • Too much Byetta can also cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Other Requirements

Byetta Pen

  • Store your new, unused Byetta pen in the original carton in a refrigerator at 36 °F to 46 °F (2 °C to 8 °C).
  • After first use, keep your pen at a temperature cooler than 77 °F (25 °C). Do not freeze.
  • Protect Byetta from light.
  • Use a Byetta pen for only 30 days. Throw away a used pen after 30 days, even if there is some medicine left in the pen.
  • Do not use Byetta after the expiration date printed on the label.
  • Do not store the Byetta pen with the needle attached. If the needle is left on, medicine may leak from the pen or air bubbles may form in the cartridge.
  • Keep your Byetta pen, pen needles, and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Byetta Trays

  • Store Byetta in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
  • Do not use Byetta past the expiration date. The expiration date is labeled EXP and can be found on the paper cover of the single-dose tray.
  • Do not freeze Byetta trays. Do not use Byetta if it has been frozen.
  • Protect Byetta from light until you are ready to prepare and use your dose.
  • If needed, you can keep your Byetta tray out of the refrigerator at 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C) for up to 4 weeks.
  • See the Instructions for Use for information about how to throw away your used Byetta parts.
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.