Compare Byetta vs. Actos

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Byetta
(Exenatide)

Actos
(Pioglitazone)

Lowers your blood sugar. Byetta (Exenatide) helps lower blood sugar for people with diabetes and causes weight loss, but it has to be given by injection and many people have upset stomach.Lowers blood sugar. Actos (Pioglitazone) is a last-choice blood sugar-lowering medicine since it's only moderately effective but has a lot of undesirable side effects.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Actos (Pioglitazone)
42%
58% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
31%
69% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
21%
21% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
Side effects
ByettaActos
  • Low blood sugar 33%
  • Nausea 26%
  • Vomiting 14%
  • Headache 10%
  • Diarrhea 10%
  • Constipation 8%
  • Indigestion 6%
  • Feeling jittery 5%
  • Muscle weakness 4%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Byetta side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 4%
  • Sore throat 4%
  • Cardiac failure 2%
  • Muscle pain 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
More Actos side effects »
How it works
ByettaActos
Byetta (Exenatide) is a medication for diabetes. It stimulates your body to produce and release more insulin, lower the sugar hormone (glucagon), and slow down digestion.Actos (Pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic drug. It improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
ByettaActos
Anti-diabetic
Incretin mimetic
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Thiazoladinedione
Prescription only
Available as
ByettaActos
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
ByettaActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
ByettaActos
        • Severe renal impairment
        • End-stage renal disease
        • Severe gastrointestinal disease
        • Gastroparesis
          Detailed Byetta (Exenatide) risks & warnings »
          • Heart failure diagnosis
            • Current liver problems
              • Female
              Detailed Actos (Pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              ByettaActos
              CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              Alcohol
              No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
              Food
              • Give injections in your belly, thighs, or upper arm within an hour of your two main meals of the day (separate doses by 6 or more hours).
              • Eat regular, balanced meals to avoid low blood sugar.
              No specific food-related info.
              Kidneys and liver
              • If you have severe kidney or liver problems, you should not take Byetta (Exenatide). Talk to your doctor about testing your kidneys before starting Byetta (Exenatide). People taking medications that are damaging to kidneys such as ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs or diuretics in addition to Byetta (Exenatide) may notice nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
              No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              Sex
              No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
              Sleep
              No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
              Weight
              • Can lower your appetite by making you feel full. Some people also lose weight when taking Byetta (Exenatide).
              • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
              • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
              • Actos (Pioglitazone) can cause too much fluid buildup in your body, which can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Your doctor should follow your blood tests and weight closely when you start Actos (Pioglitazone) or increase your dose. People with heart failure classification NYHA Class III/IV shouldn't use Actos (Pioglitazone).
              • Actos (Pioglitazone) may increase fluid buildup in your body, called edema. The risk increases with a higher dose. Tell your doctor about any unexpected weight gain, swelling of extremities, or trouble breathing.
              Upsides and benefits
              ByettaActos
              • Lowers A1c levels by 1% (A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
              • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs.
              • Has a lower chance of causing low blood sugar than medications like glyburide or insulin.
              • Can lower your appetite by making you feel full. Some people also lose weight when taking Byetta (Exenatide).
              • Byetta (Exenatide) is not a replacement for diabetes pills, but you may be able to use it alone without the need for pills.
              • The injectable “pen” has easy to use doses which you may find more convenient than other types of injections.
              • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
              • Lowers A1c levels by around 1%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
              • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
              • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
              Downsides and risks
              ByettaActos
              • Only lowers A1c levels by 1%, which may not be enough to get your blood sugar in the safe range.
              • Byetta (Exenatide) must be injected twice a day.
              • Up to 40% of people taking Byetta (Exenatide) have upset stomach and side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion.
              • Because Byetta (Exenatide) can interact with antibiotics and birth control pills, you can't take it until one hour after these medications.
              • Other diabetes medications work as well and are cheaper.
              • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
              • You have to check your blood sugar regularly with this medicine.
              • Has more side effects than similar medicines, so it's usually not the first choice for new Type 2 diabetes patients.
              • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
              • Up to 1 in 10 people might get fluid retention (edema), ranging from mild ankle swelling to severe swelling in the lungs that makes it hard to breathe. People with severe congestive heart failure shouldn't use Actos.
              • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
              • Slightly raises the risk of bladder cancer.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              ByettaActos
              • Store in the refrigerator until opening. Do not freeze.
              • Give injections in your belly, thighs, or upper arm within an hour of your two main meals of the day (separate doses by 6 or more hours).
              • Change the needle and prime the pen every time you inject.
              • It’s not safe to share this medication with other people, even if you change the needle.
              • Don’t mix with insulin; give separate injections. Can be given at the same time as insulin, but in different injection areas.
              • Eat regular, balanced meals to avoid low blood sugar.
              • It's best to check your blood sugar at least once a day using a home blood sugar monitor to make sure your medication is working and is safe. Some people may need to test more often, ask your doctor.
              • Takes several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
              • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
              • Tell your doctor about any mental confusion, persistent abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising.
              • Not recommended for patients with certain heart problems.
              • Check your blood sugar regularly.
              Learn more
              More about ByettaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert