Byetta Fights Inflammation, Study Shows

The injectable Type 2 diabetes drug Byetta has a strong and rapid anti-inflammatory effect, according to new research from the University of Buffalo. Byetta, a member of the class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists, has been prescribed to millions of people in the United States since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2005.


Inflammation is the body’s protective response to infection and injury: When a foreign substance is detected in the body, chemicals are released to widen blood vessels, bringing extra blood, heat, and infection-fighting blood cells to the affected area. But although short-term inflammation may be protective, chronic inflammation is thought to play a role in many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

Previous research at the University of Buffalo had indicated that Byetta might have anti-inflammatory properties. To determine the extent of these effects, researchers from the university randomly assigned 24 obese people with Type 2 who were using insulin to control their condition to receive either 10 micrograms of Byetta twice daily or a placebo (inactive treatment) twice daily. The study was supported by a grant from Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, manufacturers of Byetta.

Among those receiving Byetta, researchers noted a rapid, dramatic anti-inflammatory effect. These participants also experienced a reduction in HbA1c (a measure of blood glucose control over the previous 2–3 months) from 8.6% to 7.4%, on average.

“Our most important finding was this rapid, anti-inflammatory effect, which may lead to the inhibition of atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and gangrene in diabetics,” observed senior study author Paresh Dandona, MD. Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death for people with Type 2 diabetes. Dandona further noted that the anti-inflammatory effect occurred independently of weight loss in the study, indicating that it is a function of the drug itself, and not of weight loss resulting from taking the drug. (Fat tissue contributes to inflammation.)

According to Dandona, Byetta has one of the strongest anti-inflammatory effects of any medicine available, apart from insulin and corticosteroids. Next, the researchers plan to investigate possible uses of Byetta in situations such as the intensive care unit and following heart attacks and strokes, where a rapid anti-inflammatory effect would be beneficial.

To learn more about the research, read the article “Exenatide (Byetta) Has Rapid, Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Effect, Study Shows” or see the study’s abstract in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. And for more information about Byetta, click here.

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  • Joe

    I was on Byetta twice. The first time it did an excellent job of helping control my glucose levels, but it was discontinued during a hospital stay. The second time I suffered unbearable nausea and had to discontinue use.

  • calgarydiabetic

    If anti-inflammatory effects were so good then why is prednisone horrible for blood sugar control ?

  • Dan

    Took Byetta for a year in 2007 and had to discontinue due to my bodies reaction. I became sick and also developed Jaundice and had to quit. My bllod sugar A1C dropped from 7.8 to 6.4 in thet time and I lost 50 lbs!
    This summer I had gained 15lb back and tried the 5mg shot 2x daily and in 90 ays I had dropped 220 lbs and once again my A1C improved greatly!! I did not become sick from the smaller units!
    I stopped cause I did not want to lose any more weight. You just lose the urge to eat with this stuff!!!


    Ihave been on Byetta at least twice since it first came out. It discontinued by hospital/rehab from surgery. I noticed after my medical doctor put me back on it, that my fibromyalgia and arthritis pain has decreased to the point that it takes less pain meds to control. I had no idea it could be the Byetta that was helping. There are times the pain will be worse but for the most part it is much better. I’m going to be sure my dr. gets this information. Thanks for sharing.

  • Steven U.Leitner

    Please remember that these “good” effects are being proved by investigators who are paid by a pharmaceutical house that sells the product. In the past most of these ‘good’ effects have subsequently been disproved in more unbiased situations. Just be careful because anything related to ‘reward’ and money in someone’s pocket is ofter exaggerated or totally untrue.

  • John Davison

    Perhaps due diligence may be in order before singing the praises of Byetta. Suggest the readers check on all of the current litigation involving Byetta and claims of pancreatitis and kidney failure. There are class action suits out there now on these. My endocrinologist took me off Byetta many months ago because of these concerns.



    You did not mention Byetta comes from the poisonous Gila Monster lizard. Would you take it?

  • Jeann Polk

    I was on Byetta & it helped for a while with my blood sugars. I did not notice any anti-inflammatory benefits to it. Going off it (I’m now taking Januvia) and I don’t notice a difference in my arthritis symptoms.

  • Suzanne

    I am on Victoza, I wonder if the effects are similar? I went to the Victoza from Byetta because it was only once a day but if it could help with my arthritis also, maybe I could get off my daily motrin…

  • jim snell

    To Calgarydiabetic from the side hill cow walking BC born . Prednisone is not a signalling hormone from gut while GLP analogs are, I am told.

  • D Dieterich

    Does Symlin work like Byetta? Can Type I Diabetics take Byetta? Many years with Type I, the only problem I have is with the inflammation. My A1-C’s average 6.7 I took Symlin for a short period of time.

  • Mary Martha Smoak

    What about treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis?

  • Lisa

    It is a wonderful coincidence that this information should come out now! I have been using Byetta for one week now, and I have been well pleased with the reduction in glucose numbers I have seen so far. Also, I thought it unusual that I have not been having carpal tunnel pain that I generally deal with daily. I am all for using one drug for dual purposes! This could help me get off the nsaids I currently take as needed for my carpal tunnel!