What is Bydureon™?

Bydureon™ (exenatide extended-release for injectable suspension) is a once weekly medication distributed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The FDA approved the drug on January 27, 2012, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Bydureon™ is not a substitute for insulin and is not recommended as a primary therapy for individuals who have struggled in maintaining their blood sugar levels. Bydureon™ is not meant to treat people with type 1 diabetes or those with diabetic ketoacidosis. The effects of Bydureon™ in people with kidney problems or children are not known.

Bydureon™ contains the active ingredient, exenatide, and should not be used with medications like Byetta or any other medication with exenatide as an ingredient.

Like Byetta, Bydureon™ is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. However, Bydureon™ is a longer-acting medication, requiring only one injection a week versus the two-a-day injections of Byetta.

What are the potential complications/ side effects?

  • Early drug testing showed thyroid C-cell tumors in rats. It remains to be seen whether or not Bydureon™ can cause thyroid cancer in people. 
  • Swelling, hoarseness, lumps, or difficulty swallowing can occur and are symptoms of thyroid cancer. If any of these symptoms arise, report to your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Pancreatitis, (further research into the relationship between pancreatitis and Bydureon™ is necessary). Before taking BydureonTM tell your healthcare provider if you have had pancreatitis, stones in your gallbladder (gallstones), a history of alcoholism, or high blood triglyceride levels. Stop taking BydureonTM and call your healthcare provider right away if you have pain in your stomach area (abdomen) that is severe and will not go away. The pain may happen with or without vomiting and may be felt going from your abdomen through to your back; this may be a symptom of pancreatitis.
  • Bydureon™ can result in severe hypoglycemia if used with insulin secretagogue or insulin.
  • As a result of excessive nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, dehydration is a possible side effect of Bydureon™. Dehydration may cause kidney failure. This can happen in people who have never had kidney problems before. Tell your healthcare provider if you have or had kidney problems or a kidney transplant. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that will not go away or if you cannot drink liquids.
  • Allergic reaction to Bydureon™ can occur, so individuals should be aware of any allergies to medications or ingredients used in Bydureon™.
  • Nausea. This most commonly happens when you first start taking BydureonTM but may become less over time.
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Indigestion
  • Irritation or itching at the site of injection.
  • A small bump (nodule) at the injection site.

These are not all the side effects of BydureonTM. Talk to your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Who can take Bydureon?

Adults with type 2 diabetes can take Bydureon.

Who should not take Bydureon?:

  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals who are breast-feeding
  • Individuals with a history of thyroid cancer or pancreatitis.

What dosage can I take and how often/when should I take it? :

Bydureon™ is a self-administered medication and should be taken as packaged. 2 mg per dose of Bydureon™ should be taken every seven (7) days. This drug does not require food when administered, though taking any drug on an empty stomach can cause nausea. Bydureon™ does not require a set time to be taken outside of the scheduled seven (7) day cycle.  Individuals are free to take Bydureon™ at any time throughout the day that is convenient. Bydureon™ should be injected directly into the skin of the abdomen, arm, thigh, or buttocks.  The injection site should be moved with every new injection to prevent infection or the development of scar tissue. Bydureon™ should be injected immediately after it is mixed.

Individuals that miss a dose of Bydureon™ should take the missed dose as soon as remembered, provided the next scheduled dose is at least three (3) days later. If a dose of Bydureon™ is missed and the next dose is due less than three days later, do NOT take the missed dose. Instead, resume Bydureon™ on the next scheduled day.

Bydureon™ should be monitored in individuals already receiving diabetes treatment through the use of insulin or insulin secretagogue (sulfonylurea).

Bydureon™ should be refrigerated and kept between 36°F and 46°F (between 2°C and 8°C). Bydureon™ should NOT be used past its expiration point, indicated on the packaging of the medication. Bydureon™ should not be frozen or used if frozen. Bydureon™ should be kept in a dark location, as light can sometimes alter the medication. Bydureon™ should be used immediately after it has been mixed. Do NOT store mixed Bydureon™ with the intention of using the mixture at another time.  Read all the instructions on storing the medication and on disposing of the used parts.  Do NOT use Bydureon™ to treat a condition for which it was not prescribed or intended.

For more information about Bydureon™, go to or call 1-877-700-7365.

Are other diabetes medications used with it?

Other diabetes medications can be used with it, after consultation with your doctor. However, do not use Bydureon with Byetta or insulin, and do not consume alcohol while using it.

What should I tell my doctor before taking Bydureon?

Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, as well as general allergies or allergies you have to the ingredients of Bydureon. Also, inform your doctor if you have a history of kidney disease or transplants, digestion problems, alcoholism, high triglycerides, or if you are currently taking levothyroxine, theophylline, blood thinner, ergo medications, lithium, lovastatin, cyclosporine, or heart/blood pressure medication.

Reviewed by James A. Bennett 5/13

Last Modified Date: June 24, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
  1. Bydureon™ (Exenatide Extended-Release for Injectable Suspension), (Accessed 2/3/2012.)
  2. Bydureon Information, (Accessed 2/3/2012.)
  3. Bydureon (Exenatide) Drug - Overdosage and Contraindications, (Accessed 2/3/2012.)

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