Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition1 that causes problems with the way in which your body converts sugar (or glucose) to energy. Other names for the condition include adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body may not produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Alternatively, your body may reject the effects of insulin. Exenatide (brand name Byetta®) is a drug that can help patients counter these problems. Many patients use the drug successfully, but Byetta injuries are possible. Indeed, there have even been deaths from the use of Byetta. If you or a loved one is considering using Byetta, learn more about the medicine with these frequently asked questions.
Why do doctors prescribe Byetta?
Byetta may be used alongside other lifestyle changes (such as improved diet and regular exercise) to treat type 2 diabetes. The medicine controls the condition but does not cure it. Your doctor may prescribe Byetta if other treatments are not controlling the condition. The medicine can work more effectively than insulin injections or oral medicines.
How does Byetta work?
The drug2 helps the body produce more insulin, when necessary, which helps prevent the blood glucose level from getting too high in the body. Byetta signals to the pancreas that it needs to make the appropriate amount of insulin after a meal. In this way, it behaves like the hormones that occur naturally in your body. The drug also prevents the liver from making too much glucose when the body does not need it. According to the manufacturer, Byetta can reduce your appetite, and therefore the amount of food that you eat. The drug can also help slow down the speed with which food and glucose leave the stomach.
Is Byetta suitable for everyone?
Byetta is not suitable for everyone, and you will always need to discuss taking the medication with your doctor. Specifically, Byetta may cause serious side effects3 if:
- You have severe stomach or digestive problems.
- You have any symptoms of kidney disease.
- You are on kidney dialysis.
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding (or trying to get pregnant).
- You have type 1 diabetes.
What are the potential side effects?
Like all medicines, Byetta may cause some moderate to mild side effects in patients. In some cases, these will subside over time. In other cases, patients may choose to stop taking the drug. Common side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, weakness, and weight loss. If you suffer any side effects from the drug, you should consult your doctor in the first instance.
Is Byetta dangerous to use?
Some patients using Byetta have seen serious side effects4 as a result of using Byetta. Patients using Byetta may be at increased risk for pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which in some cases can lead to serious injury or even death. Studies have also shown that Byetta may lead to an increased cancer risk (pancreatic or thyroid).
Does the FDA approve the use of Byetta?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Byetta for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in 20055. In 2009, there was further FDA approval for the medicine as a first-line treatment for the condition. The FDA has, however, raised concerns about the safety of the drug. In March 20136, the FDA issued a drug safety communication, stating that the department is evaluating reports that there is a link between the drug and certain conditions (including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer). For the time being, the FDA recommends that patients and health care professionals continue to use the medicine as they do now until further evidence becomes available.
What should you do if you suffer a Byetta injury?
In the event of a Byetta injury, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit. Patients suffering an injury may be able to claim compensation for the additional pain, distress, and financial hardship. If you suffer serious side effects from the use of Byetta, you should contact a trained attorney for further advice. He or she can help establish the basis for a case and whether you may be able to receive an injury settlement. Ensure that you contact an attorney as soon as possible, however, as there may be restrictions on the amount of time available to you to claim.