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Generic Name:

exenatide, Injectable suspension

Bydureon

Bydureon

Generic Name: exenatide, Injectable suspension

All Brands

  • Bydureon
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for Bydureon

Injectable suspension
1

Bydureon is an extended-release injectable suspension. It’s available in vials and prefilled injectable pens.

2

Bydureon can be used alone to help improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t have to be used with other diabetes drugs to help improve blood sugar levels.

3

Bydureon helps increase the amount of insulin and decrease the amount of glucagon (which stops your body from releasing insulin) that your body releases. It also slows the emptying of your stomach. All of these actions together help improve your blood sugar levels.

4

You inject Bydureon under your skin (subcutaneously) in the following areas: stomach, thigh, or outer upper arm. Use a different injection site each time you administer the medication.

5

The most common side effects from using Bydureon include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching at the injection site, a small bump at the injection site, headache, indigestion, and constipation. You may get nausea when you first start using Bydureon, but it may decrease with time.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Thyroid Cancer. This drug has caused thyroid cancer in rats. It isn’t known whether this drug causes thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer in humans. If you or a member of your family has ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma, or if you have an endocrine system condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, you can’t use this drug. Before starting this drug, talk to your doctor about the potential risk of medullary thyroid carcinoma. You should also know the symptoms of thyroid tumors, such as:

  • a lump or swelling in your neck
  • difficulty swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarseness

Swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis)

This drug may increase your risk of pancreatitis. Your doctor will monitor you for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. Symptoms may include:

  • persistent severe stomach pain that sometimes spreads to your back
  • vomiting

If you have these symptoms, stop taking this drug and call your doctor. If you have pancreatitis, this drug can’t be restarted. Consider other diabetic medicines if you have a history of pancreatitis.

Kidney dysfunction

This drug may decrease your kidney function.

If you have moderate kidney dysfunction or have had a kidney transplant, watch for symptoms of kidney dysfunction when you start taking this drug or your doses are increased. Symptoms may include:

  • changes in urine color, frequency, or amount of urination
  • unexplained swelling in arms or legs
  • increases in blood pressure
  • lack of energy
  • dull ache in the middle to lower back

If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Your dose may need to be adjusted. If you have serious kidney problems, don’t use this drug.

Stomach or intestinal disease

Don’t take this drug if you have serious stomach or intestinal disease, such as slowed emptying of your stomach caused by nerve damage (gastroparesis). This drug slows stomach emptying and may cause side effects in the stomach and intestines, which may worsen these types of conditions.

What is Bydureon?

This drug is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: extended-release injectable suspension in vials and prefilled injectable pen. This drug is self-injectable.

This drug is only available as the brand-name drug called Bydureon. It isn’t available as a generic drug.

This drug is used as part of a combination of diet and exercise. This drug can be taken with other diabetes medications, but you have a higher risk of experiencing low blood sugar.

Why it's used

Hot it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 receptor agonists or incretin mimetics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 receptor agonists or incretin mimetics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug helps increase the amount of insulin and decrease the amount of glucagon (which stops your body from releasing insulin) that your body releases. It also slows the emptying of your stomach and may decrease food intake and promote the growth of pancreas cells that make insulin. All of these actions together help improve your blood sugar levels.

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SECTION 2 of 4

Bydureon Side Effects

Injectable suspension

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with Bydureon include:

  • nausea (most commonly happens when first starting Bydureon, but may become less over time)

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • itching at the injection site

  • small bump at the injection site

  • headache

  • indigestion

  • constipation

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • swelling of your pancreas (pancreatitis). Symptoms may include:

    • severe pain in your stomach area that won’t go away
  • allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • difficulty breathing, such as shortness of breath
    • severe pain, swelling, blisters, an open wound, or a dark scab at the injection site
  • symptoms of a low blood sugar reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • dizziness or lightheadedness
    • sweating
    • confusion or drowsiness
    • headache
    • blurred vision
    • slurred speech
    • shakiness
    • fast heartbeat
    • anxiety, irritability, or mood changes
    • hunger
    • weakness
    • feeling jittery
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that won’t go away

  • symptoms of thyroid cancer

    • lump or swelling in your neck
    • hoarseness
    • trouble swallowing
  • kidney dysfunction. Symptoms may include:

  • resistance to Bydureon. Your body may develop antibodies to Bydureon, but studies have shown that this won’t change the drug’s ability to work.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

Bydureon May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable suspension

Bydureon can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking Bydureon may cause your blood sugar level to decrease too much.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Oral medications
  • birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
  • oral antibiotics
  • heart rhythm drugs (digoxin)
  • cholesterol medication (lovastatin)
  • blood pressure drugs (lisinopril)

Taking Bydureon with these drugs may make these drugs not work as well. Bydureon slows down the emptying of your stomach and may reduce the rate that these drugs get absorbed into your body.

Other diabetes drugs
  • glyburide
  • glipizide
  • repaglinide
  • nateglinide

Using Bydureon with these drugs may lower your blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia. Doses of these medicines should be decreased if you take them with Bydureon.

  • Insulin

Don’t use insulin with Bydureon. Bydureon hasn’t been studied when taken with insulin.

Blood thinner
  • warfarin

Taking Bydureon with warfarin may delay warfarin’s absorption but shouldn’t change your international normalized ratio (INR) values.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
warning icon
People with medullary thyroid carcinoma

Don’t use this drug if you or a member of your family has ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma. This drug has caused medullary thyroid carcinoma in rats at doses comparable to human.

warning icon
People with endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2

Don’t use this drug if you have endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2. This drug has caused Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 in rats at doses comparable to human.

pancreatitis
People with pancreatitis

If you have pancreatitis, you can’t take this drug. This drug affects the function of your pancreas. If you have pancreatitis and take this drug, it could make your pancreatitis worse. Some people have reported experiencing pancreatitis while on this drug.

urinary system icon
People with kidney disease

This drug may worsen kidney function due to a decrease in the liquid portion of your blood (plasma) from vomiting. Your dose of this drug may have to be adjusted, depending on the severity of your kidney disease. If you have serious kidney disease, don’t use this drug.

digestive system icon
People with stomach or intestinal disease

Don’t take this drug if you have stomach or intestinal diseases, such as gastroparesis. They may cause the emptying of your stomach to slow. Taking this drug can worsen these conditions.

blood drop icon
People with large blood vessel disease

This drug hasn’t been studied to evaluate the risk of macrovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease or stroke.

blood drop icon
People with small blood vessel disease

This drug hasn’t been studied to evaluate the risk of microvascular diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes through breast milk. You and your doctor need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breast-feed.

Children
For children

This drug isn’t recommended for use in children younger than 18 years old.

Keep this medication out of the reach of children.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if your blood sugar level is staying the same or increasing even though you’re taking this drug regularly. You may have developed antibodies to this drug that make it no longer work, and you may need different medicine.

Allergies
Allergies

Don’t use this drug if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction to it or any of its components. If an allergic reaction occurs, immediately stop this drug and seek medical attention. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take Bydureon (Dosage)

Injectable suspension

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Add-on to diet and exercise for treating type 2 diabetes
Form: Vial and prefilled injectable pen
Strength: 2-mg vial with Bydureon powder and a syringe with liquid (diluent) to dissolve the Bydureon powder in the vial and single-dose 2-mg pen that contains the diluent and powder
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Inject Bydureon one time every 7 days.
  • Inject Bydureon on the same day each week.
  • The injection day may be changed as long as the last dose was injected at least 3 or more days before the new injection day.
Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage of Bydureon in people younger than 18 years has not been established.

Special Considerations

Kidney disease: Don’t use Bydureon if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

If you don’t take it at all

If you miss doses or stop taking this drug, your blood sugar levels and diabetes won’t be controlled, and you may get long-term complications of diabetes.

If you take too much

If you take too much, call your healthcare provider or poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. Taking too much this drug may increase the risk of severe nausea and vomiting and may rapidly decrease your blood glucose levels. You may need to go to the Emergency Room.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose, inject it as soon as you remember, as long as the next regularly scheduled dose is at least 3 days away. If it isn’t, wait until it’s time to inject the next dose.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your blood sugar level will decrease, and you may experience weight loss.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Store this drug in the refrigerator at 36–46°F

Keep until the expiration date or until preparing for use.

Don’t use this drug past the expiration date. The expiration date can be found on the carton, on the cover of the single-dose tray, or on the pen label. 

Don’t freeze this drug. Don’t use it if it has been frozen.

Protect this drug from light. 

If needed, this drug can be kept at room temperature, no greater than 77°F, for no more than 4 weeks. After that, throw it out. 

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines; they can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to produce your pharmacy’s preprinted label clearly identifying the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription labeled box when traveling with your medication.
  • This medication needs to be refrigerated. You may need to use an insulated bag with a cold pack to maintain the temperature when traveling.
  • Don’t put this medicine in your glove compartment or leave it in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.
  • Needles and syringes need to be used to take this medicine. Check for special rules about traveling with medicine, needles, and syringes.

Self-management

This drug is self-injected. Your healthcare provider will show you how to inject This drug and will be with you when you administer your first injection. 

Inject this drug immediately after the dose is prepared. Use a different injection site each week when injecting in the same region. Don’t administer this drug into your veins or muscles. 

How to dispose of your used needles and syringes:

  • Put your used needles and syringes in a FDA-cleared sharps disposal container right away after use.
  • Don’t throw away loose needles and syringes in your household trash.
  • If you don’t have a FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, you may use a household container that’s:
    • made of a heavy-duty plastic
    • can be closed with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out
    • upright and stable during use
    • leak-resistant
    • properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside the container
    When your sharps disposal container is almost full, you’ll need to follow your community guidelines for the right way to dispose of your sharps disposal container. There may be state or local laws about how you should throw away used needles and pens. If you must throw the container out in the trash, label it “DO NOT RECYCLE”. 

Clinical monitoring

To check if your medicine is working your doctor will check the following:

  • blood sugar levels
  • glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels 

To check if it is safe to take or continue this drug, your doctor will check the following:

  • Kidney function
  • Tests to confirm swelling of your pancreas (pancreatitis) if you have stomach pain

Hidden costs

Besides the medicine, which comes with needles and/or syringes, you’ll need to purchase sterile alcohol wipes and a container for safe disposal of used needles, syringes, and pens.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other medicines available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on June 25, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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