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Looking For A Little Type 2 Help.

Hey again, guys.  I received this email from a reader named Barbara who wanted some feedback re: Byetta andFaithful Readers strike again! how it might affect her.  I've never taken Byetta and I don't know much about it, but I was hoping some of you could help fill her in on what she might encounter.  Here's her question:

"I have heard lots of good things about Byetta and don't have any serious aversion to taking the stuff except that it's still kind of new, expensive, and don't feel that he is managing my type 2 properly. There are no endocrinologists in this town and a good internist is scarce as hen's teeth. Is there any body out there who would like to share their experiences with Byetta? My family practice type tells me that if I take Byetta, I'll lose weight and then I won't have diabetes anymore. I've already lost 12 pounds on my diet, but have hit a plateau and am starting to cheat big time. I have to do some thing quick. HELP!"

Can you help fill in the blanks for Barbara?  (And I love, love, love the phrase "scarce as hen's teeth."  I may borrow that from time to time.)  Thanks for your input, and thank you, Barbara, for asking!



My uncle uses Byetta for his type 1. And I know that he has lost a lot of weight because one of the side effects from it are nausea, so he doesn't feel like he wants to eat. He usually takes his after eating, because the side effect is so strong. Obviously this isn't the same for everyone, but this is his experience.


I haven't used it either but, there are many at Diabetes Daily that have written about it. I did a search and this is the first result: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/forum/tags/byetta/

I am taking Byetta and have experienced some of the side effects that you are talking about, but it's mostly been for a week or so, as you adjust to the new dosage. I have been experiencing really good numbers with it, and it does curb my appetite. My endo says weight loss is really maximized at 10 mcg, but I am on 5 mcg for another couple of weeks until I adjust. I'm not sure you won't have diabetes anymore, but certainly the complications thereof will be reduced. I already have high cholesterol and high BP, and I think my endo is hoping that this will be a way I can take control back from my Diabetes. I'm hoping, too!

Many people have lost weight on Byetta, but my understanding is that it's a side effect (primary effect is stabilizing bg levels). And while excess weight can cause insulin resistance to the point of a diabetes diagnosis, it is not usually the sole *cause* of T2DM. Losing enough weight and getting blood glucose levels under tight enough control to go off oral medications requires a serious commitment, and that commitment must be life-long. One of the hardest maintenance issues with that is that, once one is off medications, uninformed family members (and the uninformed public) ASSume you "no longer have diabetes" and now the T2 can eat just as recklessly as before diagnosis.

I haven't taken Byetta because my insurance and I tend to lean more toward the tried and proven. However, you brought up a doubt about your PCP's ability to manage your diabetes. Ultimately, it is you that manages your diabetes. Eating right, exercising, knowing your treatment options and following your plan are all up to you. But you do need to have a plan in place that you feel good about. Oftentimes people with cancer travel to meet with oncologists and other experts. Would it be possible to meet with an endocrinologist who you'd have to travel once or twice a year to see, and you could do other follow-up with your PCP?

I use Byetta and it has worked well on lowering my BG numbers. It's a good tool to use and is weight neutral at least. I did lose some weight but not a lot and the appetite suppression effect eventually faded. So I wouldn't suggest it if your main goal for it is weight loss. Unlike many it did not make me nauseated either.

I asked my Dr. about taking
byetta because the docter
that diagosted me with type 2 sugguested it to me while on vacation. I returned home and went to my Dr. with that request
hoping it would be a part
of my treatment plan to manage type 2. His respose
was no way byetta cause
some effects to important
organs that if your not careful could be cronic
he prescribe phentermine 37.5 mg ...It works really
good no side effects lost 30 lbs in 6 weeks.

I had great bg results with Byetta (I'm type 2) and also a great experience with the appetite suppression.

I DO however, have a HUGE issue with the statement from Barbara's doctor "My family practice type tells me that if I take Byetta, I'll lose weight and then I won't have diabetes anymore."

There is no cure for diabetes...only good management of the disease. Byetta worked for me...and trying it can't hurt. For me, poor food choices are an BIG issue, and having to inject myself 2x a day is a good reminder that I owe it to myself to take GREAT care of myself.

Kudos to Barbara for wanting to take an active role in her diabetes managment!!!

Sorry Kerri,
I meant to say that my uncle uses Byetta for his type 2*.

Unrelated, but...

Today (1/11) in 1922 (so, 1/11/22) insulin was first used to treat for Diabetes...yay for progress!

I have never taken byetta because my endo that i used to have did not think too much of it . so alas I cannot give my opinion of it . although i can tell you i do have friends that use it and they just dont talk about it that much . sorry wish i could help . thanks again keri for an interesting blog .

Hi Barbara: My name is Tom and I have been taking Byetta for some time. Like you finding a Specialist in Rural South east NM is a scare as hen's teeth. I sought out a "Specialist", an Endocrinologists in ABQ. I have regular visits with my Endo every six months. Even if it means I travel three hours one way, it is well worth the trips. I have been going to my Endo since 2006. I would highly recommend seeking out the services of a Specialist.

As for the Byetta, I have lost 13 lbs, and have seen my daily Blood glucose averages go down almost 7 to 10 point. The benefits of taking Byetta have been great for me. Now as to losing weight and not having Diabetes ... I have never heard that, and I would be skeptical of such a claim.

Good luck in your search and let us know how it have been going.

Being a type 1, I've obviously never used Byetta... but I am a pharmacist, so I know something about it!
Byetta works well for a lot of people in terms of helping to control their blood sugars, as well as losing weight. There are several beneficial effects of the drug, including increasing your body's insulin secretion in response to high blood sugars. One of the other really good things about it is that it slows the emptying of food from your stomach, which means that you don't get the "spike" after you eat because your body absorbs the carbs over a longer period of time. I know that for a lot of diabetics (myself included!), avoiding that post-prandial BS spike is one of the areas where we need the most help! Of course, the slower emptying also tends to decrease your appetite, which is probably what causes the weight loss!
The biggest side effect people complain about is nausea. It's bad enough for some people that they stop taking it. It can also cause a few more serious problems, like pancreatitis, but they're relatively rare for the number of people who use the drug.
You may want to contact your insurance company and see what you'll need to do to get them to pay for the drug. Many companies, at least here in Michigan, will not pay for Byetta unless you've tried insulin first.
I hope that helps- good luck to you!!

I have been a patient at a weight loss center at the local hospital for a bit over 2 years now, and have lost a bit over 100 pounds so far with diet and exercise. I have been on three different medications to help me along the way, and Byetta was one of them. I am no longer on it, and I'll share my story. I became a type 2 diabetic several years ago after spending most of my life very much overweight. I was put on pills for a bit and told to diet and exercise, which I'd tried many times before. I finally got into this weight loss center and the other med they put me on (Topamax) really helped. It didn't do anything with hunger or losing weight directly, but I felt like it helped "reinforce" my mental stamina about staying on my eating plan. Anyway, after about 8-9 months, I started having trouble. They played around with my dosages, but really couldn't get me back to where I'd been so successful. So they decided to supplement it with Byetta. By this point, I'd been taken off all my diabetes medications because of my weight loss, and my blood sugars were good. I was told that if I wasn't taking any other diabetes meds, it wouldn't affect my sugar (it didn't). What it did do was to make me full. Full to the point I almost felt sick. It slows your digestion down. Many who have type 2 diabetes from being overweight can have trouble with slow digestion. This just compounded the problem. I tried both the 5mg and 10mg dosages. Neither worked for me.

Bottom line is it might help you - it slows digestion and will make you more full. That has never been my problem - I overeat for mental and emotional reasons...not hunger reasons. So Byetta wasn't the solution for me.

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