If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may recommend Bydureon BCise as a treatment. It’s used with a balanced diet and exercise to help manage blood sugar.

Bydureon BCise is used in adults and children ages 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes, in certain cases. For details, see the “What is Bydureon BCise used for?” section below.

Bydureon BCise basics

The active drug in Bydureon BCise is extended-release exenatide. Extended release means the drug is released into your body gradually. Exenatide belongs to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

Bydureon BCise comes as a liquid suspension that you’ll inject under your skin with a prefilled pen. It’s not currently available in generic form.

Bydureon BCise vs. Bydureon

A drug called Bydureon used to be available, but has been discontinued.

Bydureon came as a powder inside a vial or a pen. You’d mix the powder with liquid to form a liquid suspension, which you’d inject under your skin.

This article focuses on Bydureon BCise, including how it’s injected, side effects, dosage, and more.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Bydureon BCise. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow their instructions.

Injecting Bydureon BCise

Bydureon BCise comes as a liquid suspension in a prefilled autoinjector pen that you’ll use to inject the drug under your skin. The pen is single-dose, meaning you’ll discard it into a sharps container after one injection.

You may be wondering about the needle size on the Bydureon BCise pen. The needle is small, and is hidden within the pen.

Bydureon BCise pen instructions

Before picking up your prescription, your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to use the Bydureon BCise autoinjector. You can also see step-by-step instructions here.

Bydureon BCise injection sites

You can inject Bydureon BCise into the following areas:

  • the back of your upper arm
  • your belly, at least 2 inches away from your belly button
  • the front of your thigh

It’s important to rotate your injection site with every dose. You can use the same area for more than one dose in a row, but you should change the exact spot where you give your injection. For example, if you give your injection into your belly, use a different area of your belly for each dose.

Taking Bydureon BCise with other drugs

Your doctor might prescribe Bydureon BCise by itself or with other diabetes drugs.

If you’re taking another drug by injection, such as insulin, don’t give the injections right next to each other. Make sure to use a different spot for each injection.

Before you start using Bydureon BCise, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medications you take. It’s important that you don’t take other medications that have exenatide as the active drug. Exenatide is the active drug in Bydureon BCise.

Bydureon BCise and food

Bydureon BCise injections may be given with or without food.

Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Bydureon BCise and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Bydureon BCise affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Like most drugs, Bydureon BCise may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Bydureon BCise may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Bydureon BCise. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects Bydureon BCise can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Bydureon BCise’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Bydureon BCise that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Bydureon BCise can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Bydureon BCise, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Bydureon BCise that have been reported include:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects Bydureon BCise may cause.

Boxed warning

Bydureon BCise has a boxed warning. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Risk of thyroid cancer. In animal studies, Bydureon BCise treatment increased the risk of thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It’s not known whether this risk is also increased in humans.

Symptoms of a thyroid tumor can include:

  • trouble swallowing
  • hoarse voice
  • lump or swelling in your neck
  • shortness of breath

Due to this risk, your doctor will likely not prescribe Bydureon BCise if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.

What might help

Be sure to discuss your full medical history, including any family history of thyroid tumors, before you start taking Bydureon BCise. Your doctor will use this information to help determine if Bydureon BCise is safe for you to use.

If you develop symptoms of a thyroid tumor while taking Bydureon BCise, contact your doctor right away.

Lumps or bumps at injection sites

You may develop nodules (lumps) or bumps at your Bydureon BCise injection sites. This was the most common side effect in the drug’s studies.

In most cases, injection site lumps and bumps are mild and go away on their own after a few days.

What might help

To lower your risk for injection site lumps and bumps, you should rotate the site where you inject Bydureon BCise. Each week, inject yourself in a different place than the one you used for your last dose. (See “How is Bydureon BCise injected?” above for details.)

If you have lumps or bumps at injection sites that don’t go away or that bother you, talk with your doctor. They may suggest trying a different treatment for your diabetes.

Pancreatitis

Very rarely, it’s possible to develop pancreatitis as a side effect of Bydureon BCise. Pancreatitis is inflammation (swelling) of your pancreas. In extreme cases, this condition can be fatal.

Symptoms of pancreatitis can include:

What might help

If you think you’re having symptoms of pancreatitis, stop taking Bydureon BCise and call your doctor right away. If they confirm you have pancreatitis, they’ll have you stop taking Bydureon BCise permanently.

Before you start treatment with Bydureon BCise, be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve had pancreatitis in the past. It isn’t known if it’s safe to use Bydureon BCise if you’ve already had pancreatitis. Your doctor may recommend a different medication.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Bydureon BCise. This wasn’t common in studies.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Bydureon BCise. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

You may wonder how Bydureon BCise compares with alternatives such as Trulicity and other drugs, including:

All of these drugs help manage blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. And these drugs belong to the same group of drugs, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. These drugs also have some important differences.

To see side-by-side comparisons of these drugs with Bydureon BCise, check out this article. Also, talk with your doctor about which drug is right for you.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Bydureon BCise that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always follow the dosing instructions your doctor prescribes.

Form

Bydureon BCise comes as a liquid suspension in a prefilled, single-dose autoinjector pen. You’ll inject the drug under your skin.

Recommended dosage

You’ll inject Bydureon BCise as a weekly dose, once every 7 days.

Questions about Bydureon BCise’s dosage

Below are answers to some common questions about Bydureon BCise’s dosage.

  • What if I miss a dose of Bydureon BCise? If you forget a Bydureon BCise injection and your next dose isn’t due for 3 or more days, take your missed injection as soon as you remember. But if you miss a dose and your next dose is due in 1 or 2 days, just skip the missed injection and take your next dose as scheduled.
  • Will I need to use Bydureon BCise long term? If you and your doctor agree that Bydureon BCise is working well for your condition, you’ll likely take the drug long term.
  • How long does Bydureon BCise take to work? Bydureon BCise begins working as soon as you inject a dose. But it can take a few weeks before you notice changes in your blood sugar levels. Some people in studies had a decrease in their blood sugar 2 weeks after starting Bydureon BCise. But it might take longer before you notice an effect on your blood sugar.

Find answers below to some commonly asked questions about Bydureon BCise.

Is Bydureon BCise used for weight loss? Can people without diabetes take it for weight loss?

No, Bydureon BCise is not used for weight loss. It shouldn’t be taken by people without diabetes for weight loss. The drug isn’t approved for this use.

A drug similar to Bydureon BCise, Wegovy (semaglutide), is approved for use as a weight loss medication. Wegovy belongs to the same group of drugs as Bydureon BCise, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

In Bydureon BCise’s studies, people who took the drug lost a few pounds of weight, on average. It’s important to note that Bydureon BCise is prescribed with a balanced diet and exercise. So you may lose weight while taking Bydureon BCise for diabetes. But the drug shouldn’t be used for weight loss.

If you have more questions about weight loss and your diabetes treatment plan, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Are reviews available from people who’ve taken Bydureon BCise?

The manufacturer of Bydureon BCise provides some reviews from people who’ve taken the drug, which you can read here.

You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about others’ experiences with Bydureon BCise.

How does Bydureon BCise work?

Bydureon BCise works by mimicking the actions of a protein called GLP-1, which has a few functions:

  • It causes your pancreas to release insulin when you eat a meal. Insulin lowers your blood sugar by helping your cells use blood sugar for energy or store it for later use.
  • It also works to slow the speed at which your stomach and intestines digest food. This helps keep your blood sugar levels more consistent.

Bydureon BCise uses the above mechanisms of action to help lower your blood sugar. (A mechanism of action is the way a drug works in your body.)

If you have other questions about how Bydureon BCise works, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Bydureon BCise covered by Medicare?

Possibly. It depends on your Medicare plan.

If you’d like to know whether your Medicare plan covers Bydureon BCise, contact your insurance company. You can also ask your pharmacist or your doctor.

Does Bydureon BCise need to be refrigerated?

Yes. It’s recommended that you store Bydureon BCise in the refrigerator, at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C).

You can keep Bydureon BCise pens at room temperature for up to 4 weeks. But they can’t get warmer than 86°F (30°C), and should be kept away from light.

After 4 weeks at room temperature, you should safely dispose of a Bydureon BCise autoinjector pen, even if there’s still medication left.

If you have other questions about how Bydureon BCise should be stored, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will Bydureon BCise cause weight gain as a side effect?

No, Bydureon BCise isn’t known to cause weight gain.

In fact, people who took Bydureon BCise in studies lost a few pounds of weight, on average.

If you’re concerned about your weight and your diabetes treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Bydureon BCise in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

You won’t need to purchase syringes or needles to use Bydureon BCise. But you will need a sharps container to dispose of the autoinjector pen after each dose. A sharps container can be purchased at a pharmacy or medical supplies store. You can also purchase a sharps container from online retailers.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Bydureon BCise manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.

You can check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Bydureon BCise is used with a balanced diet and exercise to help manage blood sugar. It’s used in adults and children ages 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes.

With type 2 diabetes, you have blood sugar levels that stay higher than normal over a long time. This can cause problems throughout your body, including your eyes, kidneys, and feet.

Bydureon BCise works to lower blood sugar by causing your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin lowers your blood sugar by causing sugar in your blood to enter your body’s cells. It also works by slowing down how quickly your stomach and intestines digest food.*

Note: Bydureon BCise usually isn’t the first medication recommended to help manage blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. And it shouldn’t be used to treat type 1 diabetes.

* See “How does Bydureon BCise work?” in the “What are some frequently asked questions about Bydureon BCise?” section above for details.

Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with Bydureon BCise include your overall health and any medical conditions you have.

You should also discuss any medications you’re taking, as these may interact with Bydureon BCise.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Bydureon BCise can interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Bydureon BCise.

Before taking Bydureon BCise, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause.

Boxed warning

Bydureon BCise has a boxed warning about risk of thyroid cancer. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug effects that may be dangerous.

For more information, see the “What are Bydureon BCise’s side effects?” section above.

Other warnings

Bydureon BCise may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Bydureon BCise. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC). Bydureon BCise can cause side effects that affect your GI tract (your stomach and intestines). These side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. If you have an existing GI problem, such as CD or UC, you may be at higher risk for these side effects. Taking Bydureon BCise could also worsen your condition. And, Bydureon BCise hasn’t been studied in people with severe GI problems. Your doctor can help determine whether treatment with Bydureon BCise is safe for you.
  • Low platelet counts after using another medication containing exenatide. Doctors typically won’t prescribe Bydureon BCise if you have a history of drug-induced thrombocytopenia (low platelets) with exenatide. Bydureon BCise contains exenatide and may cause the same reaction. Your doctor can recommend another treatment for your type 2 diabetes instead.
  • Kidney problems. Although rare, treatment with Bydureon BCise can cause kidney problems. You may be at higher risk for this side effect if you already have kidney problems (such as chronic kidney disease). Doctors typically won’t prescribe Bydureon BCise if you have severe kidney problems. If you have kidney problems, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe to take.
  • Pancreas problems, including having pancreatitis in the past. There have been rare reports of pancreatitis (inflammation in your pancreas) in people who’ve taken Bydureon BCise. And there haven’t been studies to see if people who have had pancreatitis in the past can safely take Bydureon BCise. It’s not known whether having pancreatitis in the past increases your risk for having it again if you have this treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a different drug if you have pancreas problems, or if you’ve had pancreatitis before.
  • Gastroparesis (slowed stomach emptying). It’s not known whether Bydureon BCise is safe or effective in people with gastroparesis. If you have this condition, be sure your doctor knows this before you start treatment with Bydureon BCise.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Bydureon BCise or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe this treatment. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Bydureon BCise and alcohol

Drinking alcohol can make you more likely to have low blood sugar. Drinking a lot of alcohol could affect how well Bydureon BCise works and increase your risk of side effects from the drug. Side effects can include headache, diarrhea, and nausea.

Talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe with Bydureon BCise treatment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Below is information about Bydureon BCise treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy. It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Bydureon BCise while pregnant. But having well-managed blood sugar during pregnancy is important.

Talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant or could become pregnant while taking Bydureon BCise. They can recommend the best diabetes treatment plan for you during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding. It’s not known whether Bydureon BCise passes into breastmilk, or if it could cause side effects in a breastfed child. Your doctor can tell you more about the risks and benefits of taking Bydureon BCise while breastfeeding.

Do not take more Bydureon BCise than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Bydureon BCise

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Bydureon BCise. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. However, if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may benefit from treatment with Bydureon BCise. It’s a once-weekly injection that, when used with a balanced diet and exercise, helps manage blood sugar.

Ask your doctor for information about the risks and benefits of using Bydureon BCise. Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • What should I expect when starting treatment with Bydureon BCise?
  • How long will I need to take Bydureon BCise?
  • How will I know if Bydureon BCise is working for me?
  • How often will I need to check my blood sugar while using Bydureon BCise?

You can learn more about medications for type 2 diabetes by checking out this article. You can also sign up for Healthline’s diabetes newsletter.

Q:

Is it safe for older people to take Bydureon BCise?

Anonymous

A:

Yes, Bydureon BCise is safe for use in older people. In studies including people ages 65 years and older, Bydureon BCise was as safe and effective in older people as it was in younger people.

It’s important to note that kidney function may be decreased in older people. Your doctor may recommend monitoring your kidney function with blood tests more often than usual when starting you on Bydureon BCise. They may also check your kidney function from time to time during treatment.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you have kidney problems. They may recommend a medication other than Bydureon BCise to treat your diabetes.

Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCPAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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 another 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.