Bydureon – Diabetes Medication

General Summary

  • Trade name: Bydureon
  • Generic name: Exenatide
  • Drug class: GLP-1 Receptor Agonist (Incretin Mimetics)
  • Manufacturer: AstraZeneca

What is Bydureon?

Bydureon was approved to prescribe in the UK on October 2011. It is a once weekly medication for people with type 2 diabetes. Bydureon is the same medical drug as Byetta, but Bydureon is a slow release medication, whereas Byetta is injected twice a day.

Bydureon responds to food entering the small intestine, or rather the presence of carbohydrate in the form of glucose. It stimulates the release of insulin, which inhibits the release of glucagon and slows down the emptying of the stomach. All of these actions can help to lower and stabilise blood glucose levels.

Bydureon may be prescribed as a triple therapy regimen in combination with the following:

  • Metformin and a sulphonylurea
  • Metformin and a thiazolidinedione

An alternative treatment would be a dual therapy with either Metformin or a Sulphonylurea.

Who Can Take Bydureon?

According to the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines, Bydureon is suitable for people who meet the following conditions:

  • HbA1c of 7.5% or above
  • A BMI of 35 or higher – People who meet this criterion may be considered for Bydureon if insulin therapy would have significant occupational implications, or if the weight loss properties of Bydureon would provide significant health benefits.


According to studies, Bydureon has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss. However, it is a fairly expensive drug to prescribe therefore it is only recommended for people in need of better blood glucose control.

Side Effects

There are some common side effects of Bydureon such as:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Hypoglycemia may occur if used in combination with a sulphonylurea.

Other, less common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux
  • Headaches
  • Problems at the injection site like itching or redness of the skin.

Always refer to the patient information leaflet included with your medication, as it contains more details about side effects that you will need to know.