Byetta (exenatide) and Bydureon (exenatide) for type 2 diabetes can be confusing—they have similar names, and both are injected rather than taken orally. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to each, and they are available in different strengths, and have different directions for use.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, occurs when the body does not use the insulin it makes properly. Symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst or hunger, tiredness, slow healing, trouble seeing, and darkened skin in the armpits and neck.
Do these medications require injections?
GLP-1 receptor agonists work by helping your pancreas release insulin only when needed, and may decrease the amount of food you eat by signaling to your brain when you are full.
Advantages of using Bydureon:
- Compliance, or how likely you are to take your prescription! Bydureon is a once-weekly injection, where Byetta must be injected twice daily. The once-weekly dose of Bydureon cuts down on the amount of injections and may increase the likelihood that you’ll be willing and able to take it as directed.
Disadvantages of using Bydureon:
- Cost. Although it can potentially be less expensive than Byetta, one month of Bydureon with a discount or coupon may still costs as much as $435 – $488.
- Ease of use. Bydureon needs to be mixed before injection, while Byetta comes in a ready-to-use prefilled pen. However, this could change later this year—a prefilled Bydureon pen has been approved and should be available later in 2014.
Advantages of using Byetta:
- Ease of use. Byetta is currently available in a prefilled pen which may be easier to use. At the moment, using Bydureon is more complicated and requires several steps. Watch for a prefilled Bydureon pen to become available later this year.
Disadvantages of using Byetta:
- Side effects. Byetta has a greater chance of nausea and upset stomach compared to Bydureon. However, nausea should subside after a few weeks of using Byetta.
- Compliance and frequency. Twice-daily Byetta may not be as convenient, as easy to remember (or as desirable) as once-weekly Bydureon.