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Bydureon Diabetes Drug, Side Effects

Bydureon injection for diabetes


Bydureon is a once weekly form of Byetta, an increasingly popular diabetes medication.  It has a variety of effects that make it a useful treatment for diabetes.  Most importantly, it helps lower blood sugar and has tended to help people lose weight.


Bydureon lowers fasting glucose levels, has tended to result in weight loss, and helps lower HbA1c levels.  Chemically, it is very similar to glucagon like peptide 1 (glp-1), which is something your body naturally secrets after eating.

Glp-1 helps you digest food as well as serve as a signal that you’ve eaten.


Studies have shown that Bydureon has significant effects that are positive.  On a purely chemical level, 77% of those on Bydureon achieved target HbA1c levels.  It also probably helps you lose weight.  In one study, participants lost around 4kg on average.

How does this impact your life?

One large study gave participants a Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire, which consists of 6 items scored 0-6 and general satisfaction questions.  The total score is 36.  Those who took Bydureon had about an impressive 5 point change in their score, with an average improvement of 1.3 in rating of satisfaction with treatment for diabetes.

That means that treatment with Bydureon has tended to improve people’s satisfaction with their overall treatment for diabetes.

Long release versus instant release

Byetta has already been available as a twice daily injection.  How does it compare to the once weekly form?

First, the most important note is that once weekly dosing is a lot easier than twice daily.  Especially since Byetta is injected.

Some studies have shown superior results achieving target levels for the long release form than the instant release.  In one, for instance, 77% of those on long release achieved target HbA1c levels, while only 61% of those on instant release did.

One study showed that people thought instant release and long release were about as effective.  That study,  however, showed that people rated long release as significantly more convenient than instant release.

Side effects of Bydureon

26.4% report nausea

17.6% report itching or discomfort at injection site

13.5% report diarrhea

10.8% report vomiting

~10% report constipation

4.7% report injection site bruising

Around 5% of those on Bydureon report a “serious” side effect.

Some people on Bydureon develop antibodies to the medication.  This was mostly not an issue but could lead to allergic reactions.


Because of how Bydureon works, it may influence your body’s digestion of other medications.  This may be significantly important for contraceptives and antibiotics.  Additionally, one study showed that levels of Tylenol were significantly effected by Byetta.

Related Articles:

  1. The 10 Next Blockbuster Drugs
  2. Metformin: Benefits, Side Effects
  3. 10 Tips for Living With Type 1 Diabetes
  4. Concerns with Actos for Treating Diabetes

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  1. I took my 4th dose this past Saturday (June 16th).
    I have noticed almost zero
    hair in the shower drain now that I have been using this. Any other people notice this?

  2. Just completed my first month of this medication…4 doses…The mixing of the medication is not simple task at the beginning…Especially when mixing the medication while the syringe remains attached….I find gentlely tapping the power prior to mixture of pre-filled syringe, helps with clumping of mixed medication…Only side-effects noted at this time…Hardened areas where medication is injected subcu…Under skin with some itching…Starting to have less of appetite.

  3. I just took my first dose on Saturday July 7th. I was taking Victoza once a day for about 2 years doing weight watchers and no real weight oss. I have not notice any differences since I took the Bydureon. My doctor is hoping this will cause me to also lose weight. The Victoza did not help with weight but did keep my sugar numbers down. I see that Matt did not have decrease in appetite until after about a month. My numbers have been good the last week but I actually gained weight. I know that it is too soon to know if it will help but has anyone else had weight loss?

  4. I have taken 4 injections and I have a lump on the right thigh under the skin where 2 were given. On the left no reaction all is good. Anyone have this happen?

  5. I’ve been on it for 4 plus months. I get some of the lumps and think it depends on weather you get the injection into enough fat. I have very little body fat and find my best injection site to be the fatty buttock area. For me the occasional lumps from the cluster of the medication crystals is a small price to pay for the once a week convenience. After about 8 years on Byetta my A1c on Bydureon dropped from 5.5 to 5.2 after 2 months.

  6. I am just finishing my 5th dose and have decided to go back to Byetta. My feet and ankles have been swollen since starting Bydureon and I’ve gained about 12 pounds in 5 weeks. The hunger is just as though I’m not on any medication and it definitely isn’t slowing down the digestion of my food. I gave it a try but going back to what works. My nurse practitioner said she had the same results.

    • If you are having major side effects with bydureon and are going back to Byetta, I would also try using Lantus for a once a day injection of long term insulin, and Apedra for short term before or after meal for good control.
      With Apedra you can check sugar levels 15 to 20 mins after eating for correct dosing.
      No side effects and good sugar control also.

    • I found that it took longer than advertised to get blood glucose back to “normal” after switching from Victoza to Bydureon. Also, my appetite increased for the 1st weeks on Bydureon and food never tasted so good. It just takes longer for it to kick in. Now I am very satisfied with how it’s working, my appetite level (lower), and the weight loss of the pounds I had added in the beginning.

  7. Demetrius vonHentschel

    I have taken Bydureon for about3 months with great results. Recently, my sugars have been low so I asked my Dr. if I could stop taking the Bydereon? I did and now for some reason I can’t sleep at night. I am very anxious and just toss and turn. Could this be a withdrawal effect? I don’t see it in writing anywhere. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  8. I have just taken my first injection, last Friday. So far, numbers are higher but no other reaction.

  9. I have just recently started on Bydureon, while I may have a little bump, and some bruising. I have noticed after a couple of days that my appetite has subsided. I have a problem in controlling my blood sugars and they just seem to be all over the place for no apparent reason. The side effects that I am reading here are a little alarming, but leave my medical decisions to my PCP. We will see how the next 5-6 weeks go to see if I continue or try a different approach. This is my first injectable medicine and like the once – a – week option.

    As for Barry, I liked to know his credentials in dissing this medication without and factual basis

  10. The bump goes with the territory and the clumping of the medication as it slowly dissipates. I’ve been on Bydureon for about 5 months with no problems. Latest A1c was 5.2. As for Barry, he had a hidden agenda. Possibly worked for a competing drug company?

  11. I’m about to take my 3rd dose today… but yesterday I started getting very itchy around where my 1st dose was.. just about 12 days earlier.   This morning there’s a large bump on my stomach that’s about 2 inches by 1/2 inch roughly in size.  It is red and itchy but not maddeningly itchy.   I’m thinking it’s a result of the polymer material inside my skin having some sort of reaction.  I did notice my glucose levels going sky high the first week (as I had stopped Onglyza as well, so it’s not exactly possible to know which was the cause)… however I am down to about where I’ve typically been at my lower levels…  even dropping slightly too low at one measurement… I think I need more time to see it it is really making a difference, which I suspect it may be…. but I’m not happy about the itchy bump.

  12. Am half way through second month.  Knotting around the injection sites a little disconcerting but not symptomatic.  Numbers better than with byetta without me following strict diet and exercise regime.  Appetite curbed significantly and weight loss slow but steady.  Hate the anxiety associated with the need to move injection faster and thicker needle.  Missed a dose this week because I failed to get it done fast enough and dosage thickened on me.  Have decided to give it a chance.

  13. I have taken 3 doses now and have seen a drop in my numbers quite a bit. No side effects other than a persistent cough that will not go away! any one else have this??

  14. I am on week 4 now and noticed a difference in beginning lower numbers.My appetite has not decreased i think i am more hungry.Read side effects thinking the cancer thing scares me cauce i have a lot of cancer in family concidering maybe not taking.

  15. started Bydureon injections the first of Aug 2012. after the third injections the hard nodules popped up where all 3 injections were given. scared me so I quit taking injections. It is now mid Nov and nodules are smaller BUT are still present. I do feel the drug was working, as my numbers had come down to a normal range but this side effect, as well as some of the other side effects, really disturbs me! My numbers have gradually been on the up climb. Don’t know what to do??

  16. I had hard nodules at injection site, also, but it wouldn’t have stopped me from taking Bydurian. I started in May and they stayed with me for 6 mos or more (I was told by the company they’d be gone in 3 weeks. However, I would have stayed on it except for the 12 days of nausea following the 3rd injection, couldn’t take it but loved my blood results.

  17. I am in my 5th week and have noticed a significant decrease in my numbers. I also was hungrier the first few weeks, but in week 4 my appetite had diminished. The only side effect I am experiencing is bleeding at the injection site. My numbers have been very low during the day-mainly because I have no appetite, so I am forcing myself to eat something to keep them dropping too much.

  18. I am now in my 5th week my numbers are great but now I have 5 red welts that started poping up in the 4th week.. These bunps and welts itch like crazy. Will give it 2 more injections and if it doesn’t go away I will quit and have to find something differentl Didn’t have this problems with Byetta.

  19. I have had my 5th dose, the very first week i noticed a big change my energy level was great not that tired sluggish feeling or getting sleepy after a meal my numbers are great. I think its the best. Also i have lost 5 lbs thusfar. Also appetite barely there and not to mention i do not crave sweets any longer.

  20. have taken 4 injections,numbers better,but upset stomach for a few days after injection,bumps not going away either,will funished my next two injections and if upset stomach and bumps not better will be calling my doctor for something different

  21. I have horrible constipation. Anyone else? Injectionsite–hydrocortisone cream will help with welt.

    • You are the only other person that has this problem. Have you heard anything lately? I don’t want to get gross but I usually have diarrhea. Now it’s strange, I feel constipated for 3 days then I have a complete day of dumping where I’ll go (a lot) 4 or 5 times. Are you still taking it? I’ve been on it for about 4 months and it hasn’t changed. Thanks

  22. Yes, I had constipation. My PCP suggested Miralax, and it’s helped. I am also having the Large Hard lumps/bumps under the skin at the injection site. They do not appear to be going away. They are amazingly ichy at times (especially at night when I am trying to sleep). I’ve been using it for five (5) weeks now.

    • have been on Bydureon since October. No problems with injection site but horrible abdominal symptoms. Upper abdominal discomfort and like a ‘shivering’ feeling in stomach and belching!! I’d be interested to know if anyone else has had similar. Unfortunately no weight loss and sugars no real change

  23. I am so glad I read all these comments bc following my 5th injection i am having the nausea, quivery stomach and gross burping. Have hardly eaten anything in 3 days. Not sure what to do. It comes in waves.

  24. Week 6 injection site red itchy was very worried until reading this site I have knots at all other 5 sites where injected would like to know just how long before knots really go away.
    Took three weeks before I noticed improvement in numbers some constipation now taking stool softener and drinking more water.
    Received 12 week supply from insurance co mail order my cost $95, don’t know if I will refill prescription.
    Red knots and lasting knots worry me.
    Would like discussion with drug maker.

    • I am unsure of the bumps as I am on my 5th month now and still have several of the bumps some are gone but most are still there. The red itchy welts have subsided and are now gone. As for stomach issues indigestion I used Tums for about a month and that is gone now as well. My levels are still great so I will not be discontinuing.

    • Hi David — First off I’m wondering if it makes a difference if you’re overweight or not. I am and I noticed that I get a small nodule but as I’ve been on this for 4 months I have found it takes about 6 weeks for each of them to disappear. But if you’re a trim person I’m not sure. As for welts or itching I haven’t had any of that. However, now I’m getting ready to take a shot and I’m worried that I’ll start having those symptoms! LOL

  25. I have been taking Bydureon for several months. I do have trouble with my stomach , terrible belching and diarrhea. I take kaopectate and it helps. My levels are good so I don’t want to stop taking it.

  26. Seems I am the only one with terrible side effects to Bydureon. I have taken a dose twice, and both times I experienced the same side effects. The next day after I take the dose I am dizzy, shaky (nervous), it takes an extreme effort for me to focus, I stumble on my words, I go into hot sweats, but my hands and feet remain iced cold, and my vision gets blurry, my stomach becomes knotted also. I take Bydureon on Wednesday, and for the last two times I have not been able to go to work, or have been sent home from work. The side effects are very severe for the next two days after I take my dose (Thurs and Fri). The side effects seize as the week goes on, but come the following week (after my Wednesday dose) it all happens again. Today I am going back to my doctor and am insisting I go back on Byetta. I much rather inject myself twice a day than go thru these side effects

  27. Patricia Wicken

    Wow. I don’t know where to start. Week 3 my first injection site ballooned. The nodule remains though it has gotten smaller and the second and third injection site nodules are large as well. The fourth injection I made in a more fatty area as I did last nights 5th injection. The 4th site so far is not large and hasn’t itched as much as the first three. Ugh. My belly looks like a whack-a-mole game. My numbers have been all over the charts. My waking/fasting blood sugar is higher than it has been in years. Is this something others have experienced? I am concerned about the numbers. I am in my fifth week on Bydureon. My doctor left me on 500mg. twice daily of Metformin while I started the Bydureon injections. I have not had nausea, diarrhea, etc. However, I have been experiencing rapid heartbeat the past couple of weeks. Anyone else?

  28. Tammie Conley

    I’ve been taking Bydureon for 6 wks now & I have not had my period yet I am always on time but this month I’m 10 days late. Has anyone had this happen to them? I also have the lumps & itching but I have a lump @ the top of my belly were I didn’t give my self a shot. Does anyone have an idea why this has happened?

  29. I quit Bydureon late November after about a month and a half. The bumps were huge (1-2 inches across) and itchy. It is now 6 months later and they are finally just about gone. I opted to use Victoza instead. It’s a much easier needle to deal with, no bumps, after a couple weeks my blood sugars are steadily between 90 and 110 , mostly around 100. It is ridiculously expensive (about $400/mos), but I’ve been watching my diet and already see weight loss, down more than 3inches on the waistline and i feel healthier. I was getting the same nausea, so I backed-down my dose from 1.8 to 1.5 and it helped a little. Bydureon just didn’t match Victoza for me.

  30. I’ve been using bydureon for about three months. My A1c has dropped fro 7.4 to 6.1. I do get the “bumps” occasionally but since it’s a rather large needle I assumed it was due to hitting some nerve tissue with the injection. The only bad side effect (and this could be due to another medication or supplement) is severe gas and diarreha. I’m not sure because this came about three weeks into the treatment and gotten worse, where normally side effects show up early and get better with time.

  31. I have been on Bydureon now for about 8 months. I have also found that I get nauseated and a bad headache for about 4 hours after the injection. I am also experiencing severe hair loss and I don’t see anyone else listing this symptom, however, I did see it as a less severe side effect.
    PS. If you massage the injection site for about 3 minutes after you do the injection, the bumps are rare.

    • That is so helpful. I did that the last time and didn’t get a nodule. However when I gave the injection on my thigh it bled a lot! I put a towel on it and massaged it and didn’t have a bump but I ended up with a huge bruise. I’ll take the bruise anytime though. I’m glad you mentioned it. My only question is (and remember I don’t know anything medically) when you get the nodule is the medication sitting there and releasing slowly? And the massaging it puts it into your system faster?! LOL I don’t know, just a question I’ve always had.

  32. I’ve been on bydureon for over a year. I was in the original study for the drug and my doctor thought I was in the Placebo group so I switched to the ‘real stuff’. I did the stomach injections with lumps, then I switched to the thighs and no more problems. A1C went down, and my weight down from 195 to 188. Side effects that have just started happening in the last couple months are stomach bloating and poor sleep. Wonder if anyone notices side effects being less or more based on diet. After a week on vacation of barb-cues and fried food, and social drinking I’m having a a difficult time breathing. I have asthma, and this wasn’t an attack it was just feel like a weight on my chest . I was still able to exercise but I labored. I’m seeing my PCP on Tuesday and wondering if I just over did it or whether side effects are just late in coming. Has anyone else had these experiences.

  33. How long does Bydureon stay in your system after 5 weeks of injections??

  34. I have been taking Bydureon for five months and about six weeks ago I had pain in my lower back, groin area and knee. Having had sciatica almost three years ago; I thought it might have flared up again. Chiropractor was able to help last time with the sciatica but this time the pain is extreme and I am unable to walk without a walker. Has anyone else experienced low back and leg pain? Also my knee cap is numb and painful.

  35. I have been taking Byetta since a year after it came out and switched to Bydureon when it came out. No side effects. I have had leg and joint pain from all cholesterol drugs and beta blockers and no longer take them. Now it’s Bydureon, exercise at the Y and careful diet. You might look for tips at the web site of Rick Mendosa, a diabetic who blogs on diabetes.

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