Archive for August 18th, 2007

BYETTA and Weight Loss

August 18, 2007

imageslo.jpgExtensive research is being done in the field of Diabetes. The prevalence of this disease is just increasing worldwide and expected to reach 333 million by year 2025.  The scary thought coupled with difficulty in getting drugs invented and approved can make this a big epidemic in the future.

As new drugs come…some are worth it some are not.  The avandia scare made everyone realized that any drug no matter how great will always have side effects.  Any avandia taker should have realized that any patient with heart failure should not take the drug because it can worsen the condition.  

So what’s with this new agent called Byetta?  Is it all worth the hype?

Discovered from the Saliva of a Gila monster…Exenatide (Byetta) was just recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2005 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It was just recently launcehd in the Philippines. It is to be taken as an injection but although it is an injection, Byetta is not insulin!!!

Byetta improves blood sugar control by mimicking the action of the hormone incretin called GLP1 which allows insulin to work more effectively in the body.  The good thing with Byetta is that it also helps in preventing the further destruction of the Beta cells which are the cells that produce insulin.  It is this defect that remains unabated by current medications that will make a patient require insulin in the long run.  Now we have drugs that are proven to help prevent these cells from deteriorating including Rosiglitazone, Pioglitazone and now Byetta.

What is the Major Side effect of Byetta that as endocrinologist and patients alike like? It’s the WEIGHT LOSS! Finally we have a good drug that does not make a patient gain weight but instead lose weight. Its the downside that’s actually a PLUS! A weight loss of around 10 to 12 lbs can be achieved and sustained long term. A report from the New York Times mentioned about a patient who lost 60 lbs after Byetta use…  BUT… dont use this drug as a weight loss agent because this has not yet been studied for that purpose and the safety of this agent for non diabetics is not yet known.

Cost however is pretty prohibitive so better discuss this option with your doctors to assess benefit cost ratio.

Do I recommend this drug?  Yes I do and have started using this agent already. It was just recently launched at the AACE Philippine Chapter meeting in Shangrila and few doctors have been given the privilege to start using this drug for their patients by Eilly Lilly.  Its something new and revolutionary thus am writing about this in my website.  The New York Times Calls It: The Ray of Hope

For more information on Byetta: check out this site:

The Gila Monster and the Man in Byetta!