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Exenatide is used along with diet, exercise and other medicines to improve blood sugar control in adults with type-2 diabetes mellitus.

How it works

Exenatide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist. It works by stimulating pancreatic beta-cells to secrete insulin when blood sugar levels are high, suppressing elevated glucagon secretion and slowing gastric emptying. This helps in reducing the sugar level in the blood.

Common side effects

Gastrointestinal discomfort, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Belching, Fall in blood sugar level, Fatigue, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, Headache, Indigestion, Injection site itching, Injection site rash, Injection site redness, Loss of appetite, Nausea, Sleepiness, Vomiting, Weakness


Expert advice

  • Do not start exenatide and consult your doctor if you have problems with stomach emptying or food digestion, have had pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas), kidney problems, thyroid C-cell tumors, if you are taking insulin, sulphonylurea or warfarin.
  • Exenatide should not be given to children and adolescents below 18 years of age.
  • You may lose weight too quickly (more than 1.5 kg/week) after exenatide injection. Seek medical advice in such case.
  • Exenatide when used in combination with sulphonylurea may reduce your ability to concentrate. Take caution while driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is exenatide insulin?
Exenatide is not insulin. Exenatide is synthetic version of exendin-4 (a hormone) and works by stimulating pancreatic beta-cells to secrete insulin when blood sugar levels are high.
Q. Is exenatide safe?
Exenatide is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.

Q. Does exenatide cause hypoglycemia?
Exenatide itself does not cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but may cause low blood sugar when taken with other antidiabetic medicines.

Q. How does exenatide cause pancreatitis?
  Few patients can suffer from pancreatitis.
Q. How is exenatide administered?
Exenatide is administered as 2 mcg subcutaneous injection once weekly.

Q. How is exenatide metabolized?
 It is not metabolized in body and excreted unchanged in urine.

Content on this page was last updated on 15 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)