Exenatide (Byetta) and Weight Loss?

Exenatide (Byetta) and Weight Loss?

Byetta and Weight Loss

Exenatide (Byetta) is an injectable drug used by patients with type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar levels.  One of the side effects of Exenatide is its effects on weight loss.  For those with type 2 diabetes, lowering their body mass index is one of the objectives to help control their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance.

A new study published in the American Journal of Medicine, studied the effects of Exenatide plus lifestyle changes vs. lifestyle changes plus placebo on weight loss in overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes (apovian et al, 2010).

Study Design:

  • 24-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study which included 194 patients.
  • lifestyle modification program consisting of a 600 kcal/day caloric deficit combined with at least 2.5 hours per week of physical activity.
  • patients were randomized to receive 5 micrograms Exenatide injection twice daily or placebo.
    • after 4 weeks, this dose was increased to 10 micrograms


  • Exenatide + lifestyle modification program showed greater change in weight (-6.16 +/- 0.54 kg vs -3.97 +/- 0.52 kg, P = .003)
  • hemoglobin A(1c) (-1.21 +/- 0.09% vs -0.73 +/- 0.09%, P <.0001)
    • [hemogloin A(1c) is a measure of long-term glycemic control.]
  • systolic (-9.44 +/- 1.40 vs -1.97 +/- 1.40 mm Hg, P <.001) and diastolic blood pressure (-2.22 +/- 1.00 vs 0.47 +/- 0.99 mm Hg, P = .04).
  • nausea was reported more as a side effect for Exenatide group than placebo (44.8 vs. 19.4%)

Study Conclusions:

“When combined with lifestyle modification, Exenatide treatment led to significant weight loss, improved glycemic control, and decreased blood pressure compared with lifestyle modification alone in overweight or obese participants with type 2 diabetes on Metformin and/or sulfonylurea treatment.”

Exenatide Side Effects:

Nausea is the most common side effect of Exenatide.  Other previously reported side effects include:

  • hypoglycemia
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • decreased appetite
  • acid reflux
  • there have been reports of acute pancreatitis


  1. Apovian CM, Bergenstal RM, Cuddihy RM, Qu Y, Lenox S, Lewis MS, Glass LC.  Effects of exenatide combined with lifestyle modification in patients with type 2 diabetes.  Am J Med. 2010 May;123(5):468.e9-17.
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