Can Byetta Be a Standalone Treatment for Type 2?

Apr 2, 2008

Since its introduction in 2005, Byetta has become “the talk of the town” as one of the most powerful, yet benign, diabetes drugs of the 21st century.

Most people with diabetes or who are close to the diabetes community have heard the many anecdotal tales about the drug’s dramatic effects on type 2s: substantial weight loss; excellent appetite control; often drastically lowered A1c’s and BGs.

(One of the more powerful testimonies to Byetta we’ve seen is the article we excerpted from David Mendosa’s book, “Losing Weight With Your Diabetes Medication,” in our Dec. 2007/Jan. 2008 issue. The article is also online: go to and enter 5557 in the search feature.)

Ready to Stand Alone?

Until now Byetta has always been used in conjunction with other diabetes medications, such as metformin and TZDs. But as evidence of Byetta’s potency builds, people have wondered if the drug might ever be used as a monotherapy – a standalone treatment that need not be used in conjunction with any other drug.

There have been some indications that the drug’s manufacturer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and its partner, Eli Lilly, were going to push for Byetta’s status as a monotherapy. One of them came at the AADE convention in St, Louis in 2007 when Scott King, Diabetes Health’s editor-in-chief, spoke with Amylin’s Craig Eberhard about that possibility.

Eberhard didn’t quite come out and advocate for Byetta as a monotherapy, but he strongly hinted that Amylin would soon push for exactly that status. (To see the interview, go to and click on “Watch Our Latest TV Show!” Scroll down to “Could Byetta Become a Standalone Drug?)

Amylin, Lilly Ready to Pop the Question

Now, buoyed by the positive results of a 24-week study, Amylin and Lilly will petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by July to determine whether doctors can begin offering the drug as a standalone treatment for type 2.

In the study, 232 “drug naïve”* type 2 patients took 5mcg or 10mcg of Byetta twice daily, unaccompanied by any other diabetes drug. Patients taking the smaller dose saw their A1c’s drop by 0.7 percentage points, while those taking the larger dosage saw theirs drop by 0.9 percentage points. The baseline A1c’s for both groups at the start of the study ranged from 7.8 to 7.9 percent.

About 60 percent of the study’s participants were able to achieve A1c’s of 7 percent or less."These data are robust and are consistent with data from other trials that support the use of Byetta before starter insulin,” says James Malone, M.D., Global Medical Director, Eli Lilly and Company.. If approved for monotherapy, Byetta may provide an additional treatment option for physicians to consider earlier in the continuum of care."

* “Drug naïve” means patients who have not previously taken the drug or drugs in a clinical study.

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Categories: A1c Test, Byetta, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Losing weight, Type 2 Issues, Type 2 Medications

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Posted by Barbarah on 5 April 2008

I did lose weight and my Aic was down to 5. but I was very sick all the time. I tried for six monthes to stay on it but my stomach couldn't handle it.
I wonder if any one else has had this problem and did they succeed using the Byetta.
Another concern for me,was the price.
Even with my co-pay it was around $100.

Posted by Anonymous on 5 April 2008

I am on it and feel great. I do have some sickness as fare as the stomach goes. I have been loosing wieght and more than wieght I have been loosing fat and inches!!! I was told that if I inject it and eat within and hour and half it would be all good. I have found that the portions of food do more to make me feel sick than anything else. Also if those portions are higher carb type foods or slow to digest nauturaly I feel more sick. If the food are high fiber like salad, I can eat a ton of it. Through a large red potatoe in a meal of steak, pork or fish with a large salad and I feel sick. Don't eat the red potatoe and I feel fine.

I also found tha injecting in the butt cheek really helps, problem is I don't have much of one.....LOL!! The more fatty the area you inject the slower it gets into the system, so I am told. It works for me. Even when I do feel sick, it's over in about an hour, I have found that diet sprite works wonders for the sick feeling. Staying away from most other soft drinks at meal time has cut down on the sick feeling. Unlike friends on insulin, this is making me eat better and watch my diet more. I love Byetta, it's brought me back to a life I remember living before Type II and for that I can handle a daily sick feeling because everything else is so much better!! My mood and outlook on things has changed, I am positive, feel up all the time and not depressed. I am very lucky I have good insurance. 3 months supply of the 10 MCL costs me $117.00.


Posted by Anonymous on 8 May 2008

I have read two articles about Byetta that state how wonderful it is, helping people lose weight and achieve better AlC numbers. I am happy for all those that it works for, but I had a much different experience and I think you should also talk about the downside of this drug. I took it for three months. I was terribly sick to my stomach 24/7, developed a terrible taste in my mouth that kept me from eating vegetables,and I felt tired all the time. I had wonderful post meal numbers, a great AlC, and lost 7 pounds, but I felt so sick and miserable all the time I finally just quit taking it. I know others have experienced the same and worse. Please tell the other side of taking Byetta.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 May 2008

I have been on Byetta for 6 weeks now. I did have a small amt of nausea approx 1-2 hrs after taking, mostly because I was not used to having PPG of 90 - 100. I started on daily 5 mcg shots and then twice a day and stayed on 5 mcg for 1 month. I started the 10 mcg dose slowly with 5 in am and 10 at supper which helped me not to have nausea. I have lost 11 - 15 lbs. and feel so much better, I have taken Metformin 3 times in the past 3 years and have always had extreme nausea and diarrhea, so the slight amt of nausea I have on Byetta does not bother me. I have changed the way I am able to eat, because I feel full which I had not felt in years!!!! I just wanted to eat all the time. My sugars are so much better and I feel GREAT. I know every med does not work for all people but this one works for me and I think it is because I started gradually and have adjusted my diet to not eat as much as before. Thanks to all, I'm just looking forward to the Long Acting Version, Oh yea and about the cost, I have paid thousands of dollars on LA Wgt Loss, Weight Watchers, and others, so for me I pay $ 70/ month and to feel this much better and see results it's worth it.

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