Byetta (exenatide) is a prescription brand-name medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The active drug in Byetta is exenatide, which belongs to a drug class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. Byetta isn’t available in a generic form.

Byetta comes as a prefilled injection pen. It’s given as a subcutaneous injection.

Read on for information about the dosage of Byetta, including its strengths and how to take the drug. For a comprehensive look at Byetta, see this article.

This article describes typical dosages for Byetta provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Byetta, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Below is information about Byetta dosage and dosing frequency for treating type 2 diabetes.

Byetta form

Byetta is a solution that comes in a prefilled injection pen. You’ll use the pen to give yourself doses as subcutaneous injections. Each Byetta pen contains 60 doses of medication.

Byetta strength

Byetta contains 250 micrograms (mcg) of the active drug exenatide in each milliliter (ml) of solution. Byetta injection pens come in two sizes:

  • 1.2-ml prefilled pen that contains 5 mcg per dose
  • 2.4-ml prefilled pen that contains 10 mcg per dose

Each Byetta pen contains 60 doses.

Typical dosages

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then, they’ll adjust your Byetta dosage over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

The usual starting dose of Byetta is 5 mcg. You’ll likely inject this dose twice daily, up to an hour before your two main meals of the day. Your two daily doses of Byetta should be at least 6 hours apart. For example, you might inject your first dose up to an hour before breakfast and your second dose up to an hour before dinner.

After the first month of treatment, your doctor may increase your dosage to 10 mcg twice per day. This will depend on how well your blood sugar levels have been managed since you started taking Byetta.

When you start Byetta treatment, your doctor will likely have you use a glucometer (blood glucose meter) to monitor your blood sugar levels. They’ll recommend how and when to check your blood sugar. Tracking this information will help you and your doctor determine how well the drug is working.

Long-term treatment

Byetta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Byetta is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Below are some answers to some frequently asked questions about Byetta dosages.

Is Byetta prescribed for weight loss? If so, what’s the dosage for this use?

Byetta isn’t specifically prescribed for weight loss. It’s prescribed to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. However, because of how the drug works, Byetta may reduce your appetite and lead to weight loss.

Byetta may help people lose weight when used in combination with a moderate diet and regular exercise. The drug has been shown to cause weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes who took the drug in clinical trials. And losing weight may help make this condition easier to manage.

If you have additional questions about weight loss and Byetta, talk with your doctor.

Can Byetta be injected once per week?

No. Byetta is injected twice per day. It must be used every day to be effective for lowering blood sugar levels.

There is an extended-release form of exenatide (the active drug in Byetta) called Bydureon BCise. Its typical dosing frequency is once per week. If you’re interested in switching to Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor. They can discuss the best treatment options for your condition.

Byetta comes as a solution in a prefilled injection pen. It’s given as a subcutaneous injection.

Before you start treatment, your doctor or another healthcare professional will teach you how to inject Byetta.

You’ll inject Byetta into one of the following areas:

  • your abdomen
  • your thighs
  • your upper arms

To use Byetta injection pens, you’ll need to attach a new pen needle before giving yourself each dose. Pen needles aren’t included with Byetta, so you’ll have to purchase them separately. In some states, pen needles may require a prescription. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you’ll need a prescription.

If you have questions about how to use Byetta pens, see the drug’s instructions for use for the 5-mcg and 10-mcg doses. You can also talk with your pharmacist. See this article for information about how to store Byetta and dispose of pen needles correctly.

When to take Byetta

It’s important to inject Byetta at the right time of day. Each dose of Byetta should be injected up to an hour before eating a meal. You should not inject Byetta during or after a meal.

You’ll inject Byetta twice per day, up to an hour before your two main meals of the day. For most people, this will be an hour before breakfast and an hour before dinner. Your two doses of Byetta should be 6 hours or more apart.

You may inject your dose of Byetta at any time within the 60-minute period before eating your meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full hour before or a few minutes before.

Here is a sample schedule for taking Byetta:

  • 8:05 a.m. — Inject Byetta dose.
  • 9:00 a.m. — Eat morning meal.
  • 5:30 p.m. — Inject Byetta dose.
  • 6:00 p.m. — Eat evening meal.

If you eat a light breakfast, you can take your first dose in the hour before lunch instead. Be sure that you take your second dose at least 6 hours after the first dose.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have additional questions about how to take Byetta.

If you forget to inject Byetta up to an hour before a meal, you should not inject your dose during or after your meal. Instead, skip your missed dose and have your next injection at the regular time.

You should not take more than one dose or double your dose of Byetta to “make up” for your missed dose.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

It’s important that you do not take more Byetta than your doctor advises. If you take more Byetta than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.

Symptoms of an overdose

Overdose symptoms of Byetta can include:

If you take more than the recommended amount of Byetta

Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Byetta. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Byetta for you, they will prescribe the dosage that fits your needs. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any drug, never change your dosage of Byetta without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Byetta that’s right for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Byetta. These additional articles might be helpful to you:

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.