Exenatide, marketed as Byetta, is an injectable medicine used to improve the blood sugar content of adults with type 2 diabetes. Byetta is often used with other type-2 diabetes drugs. It is not, however, a substitute for insulin in people whose diabetes treatment involves insulin injections. It has not been studied in children and so probably should not take Byetta.
The risks of Byetta include low blood sugar if taken with certain other drugs. The signs and symptoms of low blood sugar commonly include headache, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, confusion, irritability, hunger, fast heartbeat, sweating, and feeling jittery. The more common side effects of taking Byetta include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, feeling jittery, and acid stomachs. Nausea is the most common side effect and takes place mainly when first starting Byetta. In most patients, nausea decreases with time.
The FDA approved Byetta in April of 2005. In October of 2007 the FDA issued a warning towards taking Byetta. They had received 30 different cases of Byetta causing acute pancreatitis. At least two of these cases involved a link between Byetta and acute pancreatitis. The maker of Byetta has agreed to include this information in the warning information for the drug.