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Non-Insulin Diabetes Injectables

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Who can take it:This drug is only approved for people with type 2 diabetes.

What it does:After you eat, Byetta causes the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin, which moves glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells. It also reduces the production of a hormone called glucagon, which normally causes the liver to release stored sugar. And, Byetta slows the speed of digestion. Through all of these effects, Byetta can help you lose weight and get your A1C number back on track.

Side effects:Byetta's most common side effects are similar to those of Symlin, including nausea, diarrhea, headache, and vomiting. These side effects usually go away after the first month of treatment. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is another possible side effect. The FDA has also received reports of kidney failure in people treated with Byetta. In animal studies, Byetta is linked to thyroid cancer in some rats and mice, but experts still do not know whether it has the same effect in people.

 

Liraglutide (Victoza)

What it is:Victoza is in the same class of drugs as Byetta, and it also acts almost identically to the hormone GLP-1. This once-daily drug helps your body release more insulin and move glucose from your bloodstream into your cells.

Who can take it: Victoza is approved for people with type 2 diabetes. You take it in combination with metformin or a sulphonylurea drug.

What it does:Victoza is similar to Byetta in that it causes the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin, which helps control blood sugar. It also reduces the release of glucagon. Victoza can help control your weight and A1C number.

Side effects:The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and headache. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is another possible side effect. In animal studies, this drug is linked to thyroid cancer in some rats and mice, but it is not clear whether it has the same effect in people.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on June 25, 2013
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