Other Injectable Medications

Besides insulin, there are other injectable drugs used to treat diabetes.


Exenatide (brand name Byetta) enhances insulin secretion when blood glucose is high while decreasing liver’s glucose output.  It may help decrease appetite and may cause nausea or vomiting. Risk of hypoglycemia is increased when Exenatide is administered with a sulfonylurea (diabetes pills that help your body to make more insulin), therefore you may need to reduce a sulfonylurea's dose.

Exenatide Extended Release

Exenatide extended release (brand name Bydureon) is taken as single weekly dose along with diet and exercise to control blood glucose in type 2 diabetes.  It helps the pancreas to make insulin while decreasing glucose release from the liver when blood glucose are high. It also slows digestion and keeps individuals feeling full longer and decreases appetite. As with standard exenatide, there is an increased risk of hypoglycemia when used in combination with Sulfonylureas. This medication is not a substitute for insulin, should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis, and is not recommended to be used with insulin.


Liraglutide (brand name Victoza) stimulates insulin production while suppressing the liver‘s glucose output and may cause weight loss. It can initially cause nausea, which may get better or go away with time. If you are taking this medication your doctor may monitor your blood work to check if your pancreas is working well.


Pramlintide (brand name Symlin) slows food from moving too quickly through the stomach and helps keep after-meal glucose levels from going too high. It can suppress appetite and may cause weight loss.  It also reduces glucose production by the liver. It is taken before meals and may cause nausea. To limit nausea, start with a low dose. Pramlintide cannot be mixed with insulin in the same syringe so it must be taken as a separate injection.

  • Last Reviewed: July 17, 2013
  • Last Edited: October 23, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast