Weight Loss & Byetta


In 2006, a buzz emerged over the diabetes drug Byetta since it can cause weight loss, according to findlaw.com. However, this drug can pose dangerous side effects, and is not meant to be taken by people who do not have diabetes.

The Facts

Byetta, the brand name for the drug exenatide, is intended for people with type 2 diabetes. It is manufactured by Eli Lily and Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Byetta is marketed to help type 2 diabetics lower their blood sugar. However, such individuals have also lost weight when taking Byetta.


Byetta is not insulin, although it may be confused as such, since it is injected similarly into patients, according to the Mayo Clinic. Byetta works to improve the body’s control over blood sugar release, and it is injected into the body twice a day before meals.

Side Effects

According to the Mayo Clinic, nausea is the most common side effect of Byetta; however, the nausea eventually stops. Another common side effect is weight loss, which is often a welcomed one, as obesity is often a cause of type 2 diabetes. When taking Byetta, food moves slower than usual to the lower intestine, making you feel full and eat less and over time leading to weight loss. According to health.com, a study of obese men and women who took Byetta over a six- month period lost an average of 11 pounds.


Byetta is an FDA-approved medication that is solely recommended for individuals that have type 2 diabetes. However, in 2006, according to findlaw.com, there was increasing publicity focused on the weight loss effect of Byetta. People who are not diabetic have since taken Byetta to lose weight. Since Byetta was originally approved as a type 2 diabetes medication, it must be marketed as such. However, physicians can prescribe Byetta for weight loss. Taking Byetta for reasons other than type 2 diabetes puts the user at an increased risk of side effects.


Taking Byetta increases chances of developing pancreatitis, a severe inflammatory disease of the pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin. Although type 2 diabetics are also at risk, chances of developing pancreatitis may be higher if Byetta is taken for reasons other than diabetes, according to findlaw.com. The website also states that 30 cases of pancreatitis associated with Byetta were reported to the FDA in 2007. Symptoms of pancreatitis are nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, fever, severe back pain and a swollen abdomen. Pancreatitis requires immediate medical attention.

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