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Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon)

Exenatide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that is approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes. The medication works by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin after meals. While the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports less is known about how well exenatide lowers A1c compared to other medications, it does reportedly result in less weight gain than other diabetes drugs. Exenatide is intended to be used in conjunction with exercise and dietary changes and is not recommended as a first-line therapy for diabetes patients.

Until recently, exenatide was only sold under the brand name Byetta which is administered as a twice daily injection. However, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a long-acting form of the drug to be sold under the brand name Bydureon. This medicine requires only a weekly injection and is the first weekly diabetes medication on the market.

Exenatide at a glance

Brand name(s) in the US: Byetta and Bydureon
Date approved by FDA:
April 2005 (Byetta) and January 2012 (Bydureon)
Medication class:
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist
Method of administration:
Twice-daily injection (Byetta) and weekly injection (Bydureon)
Brand name manufacturer:
Amylin Pharmaceuticals
Other drugs in the same class:
Liraglutide (Victoza)

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