Bydureon BCise (exenatide extended release) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Bydureon BCise is approved for use in adults and children ages 10 years and older.

If you and your doctor agree that Bydureon BCise is working well for you, you’ll likely take the medication long term.

Here are some fast facts about Bydureon BCise:

Like other drugs, Bydureon BCise can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For more specifics about Bydureon BCise, including details about its uses, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* Bydureon used to come in vial and pen forms, but they’ve been discontinued.

Bydureon BCise can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Bydureon BCise in clinical trials:

* To learn more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Mild side effects can occur with Bydureon BCise. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Bydureon BCise’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Bydureon BCise include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Bydureon BCise and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* To learn more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Bydureon BCise may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Bydureon BCise’s prescribing information.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Bydureon BCise, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

The risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) with Bydureon BCise is rare unless you also take certain other medications for diabetes called sulfonylureas (such as glipizide) or use insulin in combination with Bydureon BCise. Your doctor or pharmacist may suggest lowering the dose of your sulfonylurea or insulin if you are also prescribed Bydureon BCise.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:

* To learn more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.
Bydureon BCise has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Bydureon BCise may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Does stopping Bydureon BCise treatment cause any side effects?

No, stopping Bydureon BCise treatment isn’t known to cause any side effects. With some drugs, stopping the medication can lead to certain side effects. These are known as withdrawal reactions.

Withdrawal reactions haven’t been reported with stopping Bydureon BCise treatment. However, keep in mind that your blood sugar levels may increase over time if you stop taking Bydureon BCise.

If you’re thinking about stopping treatment with Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor. They can discuss the risks and benefits of stopping your use of this medication. They can also inform you about other treatment options for your condition.

What are the side effects of the Bydureon pen?

The Bydureon pen is no longer available. It was discontinued by its manufacturer in 2021 as a business decision. It wasn’t because of concerns about the safety of the drug or how well it worked to manage blood sugar levels. The manufacturer recommends that people using Bydureon pens switch to Bydureon BCise once their remaining Bydureon pen prescription runs out.

If you have questions about side effects and Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Bydureon BCise cause weight loss?

It’s possible to have weight loss from taking Bydureon BCise.

Taking Bydureon BCise may lead to a small amount of weight loss. In clinical trials, people taking Bydureon BCise lost an average of about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) over 28 weeks.

It’s important to note that Bydureon BCise is not approved for weight loss or treating obesity.

If you have additional questions about your body weight and Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Bydureon BCise may cause.

Reaction at the injection site

Some people may experience an injection site reaction during treatment with Bydureon BCise. These are side effects that can occur in the area where you inject Bydureon BCise. These were the most common side effects in the drug’s clinical trials.

Injection site reactions with Bydureon can be mild or serious. Mild reactions are much more common than serious ones, which are very rare.

Mild injection site reactions can include:

  • bumps or nodules (lumps) under the skin
  • itching
  • redness or discoloration

Serious injection site reactions may include:

  • cellulitis (a painful skin infection)
  • skin necrosis (death of skin tissue)
  • skin abscess (a bump within or below your skin’s surface)

What you can do

To reduce your risk of an injection site reaction, switch your injection site weekly with each injection. You should not use the same site for each injection.

If you experience injection site reactions that bother you or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease your side effects of Bydureon BCise. Or your doctor may suggest that you switch to a different treatment.

Kidney problems

Although rare, treatment with Bydureon BCise can cause kidney problems.

In clinical trials, kidney damage from treatment with Bydureon BCise occurred. Your risk of kidney damage is higher if you also take other medications that can cause kidney problems. Dehydration can also increase your risk of this side effect.

Symptoms of kidney problems caused by Bydureon BCise can include:

What you can do

In many cases, kidney problems caused by Bydureon BCise are reversible with treatment and stopping the medication. Talk with your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of kidney problems.

Before you start taking Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about other medications you take, including any over-the-counter drugs or supplements. They can review your medication list to see if any will raise your risk of kidney problems if used with Bydureon BCise. They may recommend changes to your treatment plan to make sure Bydureon BCise is safe for you.

Pancreatitis

Treatment with Bydureon BCise can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas). This side effect was rare in clinical trials.

Symptoms of pancreatitis can include:

Bydureon BCise hasn’t been studied in people who have had pancreatitis in the past. It isn’t known whether having a history of pancreatitis increases your risk of having this side effect from Bydureon BCise.

What you can do

Talk with your doctor immediately if you notice symptoms of pancreatitis while taking Bydureon BCise. If they find that you do have the condition, they’ll likely have you stop taking Bydureon BCise. You’ll usually need to have your pancreatitis treated in a hospital.

Risk of thyroid cancer

Bydureon BCise has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Bydureon BCise increased the risk of thyroid tumors in animal studies. It’s not known whether this risk is also higher in humans. Due to this risk, doctors typically will not prescribe Bydureon BCise if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (a rare form of cancer).

Symptoms of a thyroid tumor can include:

What you can do

If you develop symptoms of thyroid tumor, contact your doctor. They will examine you to evaluate your symptoms. They may have you stop taking Bydureon BCise and can recommend other treatments for your condition.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Bydureon BCise can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • flushing
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Bydureon BCise. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

There are certain precautions for Bydureon BCise to consider before taking the drug. This medication also comes with a boxed warning.

Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid cancer

Bydureon BCise has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Bydureon BCise. This drug may not be the right treatment for your condition if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Digestive problems. Bydureon BCise can cause side effects related to digestion, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have digestive problems, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, Bydureon BCise may worsen your condition. The medication hasn’t been studied in people with severe digestive problems. Your doctor can help determine whether treatment with Bydureon BCise is safe for you.

In addition, if you have gastroparesis, it’s not known whether Bydureon BCise is safe for you to take or if the drug would work for you. The drug hasn’t been studied in people with gastroparesis. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your type 2 diabetes if you have gastroparesis.

History of low platelet counts. Bydureon BCise contains the active drug exenatide. If you have a history of low platelet counts after taking another medication containing exenatide, your doctor typically will not prescribe Bydureon BCise. A low platelet count is a side effect of Bydureon BCise. So having a low platelet count in the past while taking an exenatide-containing product can increase your risk of serious bleeding, which has resulted in death in rare cases. Talk with your doctor about which other treatments are better choices for you.

Kidney problems. Although rare, treatment with Bydureon BCise can cause kidney problems.* If you have a problem with your kidneys (such as chronic kidney disease), you may be at higher risk of this side effect than usual. Due to this risk, doctors typically will not prescribe Bydureon BCise If you have a severe kidney function problem. Talk with your doctor about whether Bydureon BCise is safe for you to take if you have a problem with your kidneys.

Pancreas problems. Although rare, there have been reports of pancreatitis* (inflammation of your pancreas) in people treated with Bydureon BCise. The drug hasn’t been studied in people who have had pancreatitis in the past. So it’s not known whether a past episode of pancreatitis increases your risk of having it again if you take Bydureon BCise. Your doctor may decide another treatment is best if you’ve had pancreatitis in the past or have other pancreas problems.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction* to Bydureon BCise or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Bydureon BCise. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Alcohol and Bydureon BCise

Drinking alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels. It can also raise your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It’s possible that drinking too much alcohol could affect how well Bydureon BCise works or could increase your risk of side effects.

Talk with your doctor about how much alcohol is safe to consume with your diabetes treatment plan.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Bydureon BCise

Here’s some information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Bydureon BCise.

Pregnancy. Bydureon BCise should be injected while pregnant only if the drug’s benefits are greater than the possible risks. Animal studies showed potential harm to a fetus. However, studies in animals don’t always predict how a drug might affect humans. And it’s known that blood sugar levels that aren’t well managed can cause harm to a pregnant person or a fetus.

If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor. They can recommend the best diabetes treatment plan for you during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Bydureon BCise is safe to inject while breastfeeding. This is because it’s unknown whether the drug passes into breast milk or if it can cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of injecting Bydureon BCise while breastfeeding.

Treatment with Bydureon BCise can cause some side effects. These are usually mild when they do occur. Most mild side effects tend to go away on their own and don’t require medical attention. However, in rare cases, serious side effects are possible and may require treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about Bydureon BCise, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects of taking the drug.

Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. For details about type 2 diabetes, see our diabetes hub and list of diabetes articles.

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.