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Byetta Warnings and Precautions

Some Byetta warnings and precautions include the risk of low blood sugar when Byetta is taken with certain diabetes medications, potential allergic reactions, and the possible danger of taking the medication while pregnant. Before taking Byetta, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems, diabetic gastroparesis, or a history of diabetic ketoacidosis. You should not take Byetta if you are allergic to any ingredient used in making it.

Byetta: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Byetta® (exenatide) if you have:
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • A history of diabetic ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition that may occur with uncontrolled diabetes)
  • Diabetic gastroparesis (a slowing of the digestive tract due to diabetes)
  • Other digestive tract conditions
  • A history of pancreatitis 
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Byetta Warnings and Precautions

Some Byetta warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
  • Very preliminary data suggests incretin mimetics, such as Byetta, may increase the risk of precancerous cellular changes (called pancreatic duct metaplasia) in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers are continuing to study the possibility that incretin mimetics might increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, although at this time there is not enough information to know for sure if there is any increased risk.
  • Byetta has been linked with some cases of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), a condition that is potentially life-threatening. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any symptoms of pancreatitis, such as severe abdominal pain that radiates to the back and vomiting.


  • Although Byetta is an injectable medication, it is not a form of insulin and should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. These conditions need to be treated with insulin.
  • Byetta is a synthetic version of a protein found in the saliva of gila monster lizards. As such, it may be more likely to cause allergic reactions. Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop an allergic reaction after taking Byetta. Also, in some people, the immune system may attack Byetta, perhaps making it less effective.
  • Byetta is not recommended for use in people with severe kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure). There have been reports of kidney problems related to this medication. Your healthcare provider should monitor your kidney function (using a simple blood test) while you are taking this drug.


  • Byetta has not been studied in people with diabetic gastroparesis or other digestive tract conditions. Byetta is not recommended for use in people with severe digestive tract conditions, as it can slow the function of the digestive tract.
  • When used by itself or in combination with medications such as metformin (Glucophage®), pioglitazone (Actos®), or rosiglitazone (Avandia®), Byetta does not increase the risk of low blood sugar by much. However, the risk of low blood sugar is significantly higher when Byetta is used with the following sulfonylurea medications:


Your healthcare provider may need to lower your dose of any of the above medications if you are taking Byetta (see Byetta and Blood Sugar).
  • Byetta is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that Byetta may not be safe for use in pregnant women, although the full risks of Byetta in pregnancy are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking Byetta during pregnancy (see Byetta and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Byetta passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about breastfeeding while taking Byetta.
Diabetes Tips for Seniors

Information on Byetta

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