What Is Exenatide And When Is It Used?

Question: What is exenatide and when is it used?

Answer: Exenatide, or Byetta, is a synthetic peptide that acts at the receptor for GLP-1 – a hormone that is made in the gastrointestinal track that stimulates insulin secretion and also decreases the secretion of glucagon, a hormone which is elevated in patients with diabetes. Exenatide, in its current form, has to be injected twice a day, but it has a remarkable action of lowering glucose after meals and also causing weight loss. A long-acting form of exenatide, which would be injected only once a week, is also under development. Side effects of the existing form include some people getting nauseated, even vomiting, but that's the only major side effect that has been noted.

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