Compare Byetta vs. Human insulin

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

Byetta
(Exenatide)

Humulin
(Human Insulin)

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. This form of insulin is one of the few medications in its class that you can get without a prescription, but it's expensive.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Humulin (Human Insulin)
67%
33% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
46%
54% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
11%
11% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
Side effects
ByettaHuman insulin
  • 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 »

The Human insulin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Human insulin side effects »
How it works
ByettaHuman insulin
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.Insulin is a hormone normally produced by your pancreas. It helps your body absorb and store sugar and fat from your bloodstream.
Type of medication
ByettaHuman insulin
Anti-diabetic
Incretin mimetic
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Insulin
Prescription only
Available as
ByettaHuman insulin
  • Injection
  • Injection
  • Inhaler
Used for (click to learn more)
ByettaHuman insulin
Risk factors for serious side effects
ByettaHuman insulin
        • Severe renal impairment
        • End-stage renal disease
        • Severe gastrointestinal disease
        • Gastroparesis
          Detailed Byetta (Exenatide) risks & warnings »
                Detailed Humulin (Human Insulin) risks & warnings »
                Pregnancy category
                ByettaHuman insulin
                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).
                • People on Humulin (Human Insulin) can experience weight gain. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about changing your diet if this bothers you.
                Upsides and benefits
                ByettaHuman insulin
                • 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.
                • Some types of this medication are available without a prescription.
                • Available as a shot to be injected into the fatty part of the skin, and as a powder to be inhaled through your nose.
                • Available in different combinations so that you can do one shot or multiple shots a day.
                Downsides and risks
                ByettaHuman insulin
                • 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.
                • Has to be taken exactly as directed or it can cause high or low blood sugar.
                • As with all insulins, you have to work with your doctor closely to make sure you're giving yourself the correct dose, or you can have low or high blood sugar.
                Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
                ByettaHuman insulin
                • 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.
                • Change the location where you give yourself the shot every time.
                • Don't use if the liquid in the vial looks different than normal.
                • Store the unopened vials in the refrigerator. The used vials can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days.
                • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
                • Know the symptoms of low blood sugar.
                Learn more
                More about ByettaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                More about Human insulinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert