Exenatide is a medication that is specifically made to treat diabetes, primarily when used alongside other treatments. If you need help managing this condition and diet and exercise aren’t doing enough to help you, exenatide can offer you another solution to help you become healthier and enjoy your life better. If you are wondering whether or not exenatide is a solution you should consider taking, read on to learn more about this medication. The information here, along with advice from your doctor, can help you make a more informed decision about your health.
Overview & Benefits
Exenatide is a medication that is given by injection to reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. This is an injectable medication that is highly effective in treating type 2 diabetes. Exenatide is categorized in a class of drugs known as “incretin mimetics” since it can mimic the effects of incretins. Incretins are naturally produced hormones in the body, which are released into the person’s body due to eating food. These hormones, including human-glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1), are released into the body to slow glucose absorption, secrete insulin from the pancreas, and reduce the glucagon action. This is why the medication works to reduce the level of blood glucose in the body. The GLP-1 can also reduce your appetite, which can be helpful for weight loss.
You should not take this medication if you have diabetic ketoacidosis or slowed digestion. You should not take this medication if you are allergic to it or if you suffer from:
- Severe kidney disease or are currently on dialysis.
- Severe stomach disorder, which causes slow digestion.
- History of low platelet levels.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis.
Before you begin taking this medication, you should let your doctor know the following:
- If you’ve ever had pancreatitis or gallstones.
- If you’ve ever had kidney disease or a history of a kidney transplant.
- History of stomach conditions that can slow digestion.
How Exenatide Is Used
This medication is used as an injection to treat type 2 diabetes. These two brand-name versions of this medication have different approaches to injections. Byetta is a solution that comes prefilled in an injection pen to the proper dosage. Then, this is injected under the skin (subcutaneously). This is an immediate-release version of exenatide. This should be injected twice a day subcutaneously, within 60 minutes before eating your morning and evening meals. This should not be injected after eating. When you first start this medication, the doctor will likely start you on a low dosage and then switch you to a higher dosage if your blood sugar levels haven’t improved.
Bydureon is an extended-release version of exenatide, which means that it’s long-acting. This comes as a powder, which is then mixed into a liquid or in a prefilled injection pen. The extended-release option of this medication is typically used once a week at any time, without having to be concerned about when you eat your meals. It should be used the same day every week, but it doesn’t need to be taken simultaneously.
This medication should be used as directed by the doctor.
Exenatide Side Effects
There are side effects that you may encounter when using this product. It’s important to remember that side effects can happen, and you should report anything that you are concerned about. Some side effects are typical, which can be expected especially if you take higher doses of this medication. Some of these side effects will decrease over time.
The most common side effects of exenatide include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar that is excessive)
- Stomach discomfort
Side effects that are important to note for your doctor include:
- Increased sweating
- Decreased appetite
- Acid reflux
Some patients had reported cases of acute pancreatitis when they were using this product. If you develop severe and persistent abdominal pain when using this product, you need to seek out medical attention right away. If you suspect that you have pancreatitis, you should immediately stop this medication until it has been excluded or you have been told to do so by your doctor.
You will want to check with your doctor before taking this medication if you are pregnant or nursing. There haven’t been a sufficient number of studies on this medication to see the effects on pregnant or breastfeeding women. This group is typically just prescribed insulin to manage their type 2 diabetes.
There are some potential interactions with other medications. You should talk to your doctor about which medications you are currently taking to ensure that it’s safe to take this medication. Because this medication can slow the emptying of the stomach, this can negatively impact any medications that need to pass through the stomach quickly to be effective.
Exenatide Dosage & Treatment
The doctor will typically start with an initial dosage of 5 mcg, which is injected subcutaneously. The doses should be injected into the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. After a month, the doctor may increase your dosage depending on how your blood sugar levels are reacting to the medication. Be sure that you strictly follow the dosing instructions as provided by your medical professional. This will help avoid any serious side effects as well as prevent an accidental overdose on this medication. The doctor will also give you additional instructions on what you should do if you miss a dosage. The doctor will adjust the medicine based on any other medications you are taking and how well you are responding to the drug. It’s also essential to properly store this medication according to the provided instructions.
Exenatide is most frequently prescribed as a type 2 diabetes medication. There may be some other conditions that this medication is prescribed for, but it is best used as a diabetes treatment. If you have any questions about this medication, your doctor can be a precious resource.
When used alongside a diet and exercise regimen, exenatide can be highly effective in treating your type 2 diabetes. You may notice that you have side effects when you first take this product, but these side effects should be less noticeable over time. By talking to your doctor, you can decide whether or not this is a medication that can help you control your type 2 diabetes and live a healthier life.
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