Byetta® is the brand name for a short-acting form of exenatide, an injectable drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes1 known as an incretin mimetic.2 Exenatide affects the pancreas, helping it produce insulin more effectively. Byetta also affects glucose production in the liver, glucose transport from the stomach, and appetite signals in the brain.3 The use of Byetta has been associated with some severe side effects, and even death.
Byetta side effects
- Weight loss
- Feeling jittery
Byetta has also been linked to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, since at least 2007.5 The symptoms of this disorder include stomach pain and nausea.6 Severe pancreatitis can lead to death,3 and the drug has also been associated with pancreatic cancer.2
The cause of Byetta-related deaths appears to be pancreatitis. A study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2013 found that diabetic patients who take drugs like Byetta have twice the risk of being hospitalized with acute pancreatitis. The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:7
- Severe and sudden abdominal pain
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Deaths resulting from the use of Byetta were already being reported in 2008.8
Who should not use this drug
Byetta should not be used by individuals with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. Kidney disease, digestion problems, a history of alcoholism, pancreatitis, gallstones, and high blood triglyceride levels are also contraindications for the use of Byetta. Whether the drug is harmful during pregnancy is not yet known.1
If you or a loved one has been injured or died from using Byetta, a personal injury lawyer can determine whether you have a case for compensation.