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Insert M: Byetta (Incretin Mimetic)

Incretin (in-KREE-tin) Mimetic (mih-MET-ik)​​

​Brand Name ​Generic Name
 __ Byetta (by-YAY-tuh)​ ​ __ exenatide (eks-EN-uh-tyd)

What does this medici​ne do?

Byetta helps your body make more insulin when it's needed. It helps keep your blood glucose from going too high after you eat, a common problem in people with diabetes. It works by helping food move more slowly through your stomach. Byetta helps keep your liver from putting stored glucose into your blood. It also may prevent hunger, helping you eat less and maybe lose weight.

Byetta is not used in place of insulin.

Who should n​ot take Byetta?

Talk with your doctor about whether you should take this type of medicine if

  • you have severe stomach or digestive problems
  • you have any symptoms of kidney disease or are on dialysis
  • you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • you have type 1 diabetes

Byetta has not been studied for use in children.

What are the po​ssible side effects?

Byetta can cause

  • nausea and vomiting—most often when you first start taking Byetta
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

Byetta also can cause an acid stomach or make you feel nervous.

If you take Byetta: What you need to know about problems with your kidneys

Talk with your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:

  • changes in the color of your urine, how often you urinate, or the amount you urinate
  • swelling of your hands or feet
  • tiredness
  • changes in your appetite or digestion
  • a dull ache in your mid to lower back

This type of medicine doesn't cause low blood glucose by itself. But your risk of having low blood glucose goes up if you also take

  • diabetes pills that cause low blood glucose
  • insulin

Your doctor may ask you to take a lower dose of your other diabetes medicines while you take this type of medicine.

Return to What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines

Go to Insert N: About Low Blood Glucose


This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


December 2013