Compare Byetta vs. Metformin

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

Byetta
(Exenatide)

Glucophage
(Metformin)

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. Glucophage (Metformin) is a very effective medicine to lower blood sugar and the risk of complications and death from diabetes, but it's likely to cause diarrhea for the first few weeks.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Glucophage (Metformin)
65%
35% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
46%
54% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
16%
16% vs. Byetta (Exenatide)
Side effects
ByettaMetformin
  • 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 »
  • Diarrhea 41%
  • Nausea/vomiting 18%
  • Passing gas 6%
  • Indigestion 3%
  • Muscle weakness 3%
  • Abdominal discomfort 1%
  • Headache 1%
More Metformin side effects »
How it works
ByettaMetformin
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.Glucophage (Metformin) is an anti-diabetic drug. It lowers sugar production in your body, decreases sugar absorption in your intestines, and makes your body more sensitive to insulin.
Type of medication
ByettaMetformin
Anti-diabetic
Incretin mimetic
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Biguanide
Prescription only
Available as
ByettaMetformin
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
ByettaMetformin
Risk factors for serious side effects
ByettaMetformin
        • Severe renal impairment
        • End-stage renal disease
        • Severe gastrointestinal disease
        • Gastroparesis
          Detailed Byetta (Exenatide) risks & warnings »
          • Kidney problems
          • Liver problems
          • Congestive heart failure
          • Using contrast dye for procedures
          • Surgery
          • Alcohol use
            Detailed Glucophage (Metformin) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            ByettaMetformin
            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
            BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

            Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

            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.
            • Always take it with food or switch to the extended release version to avoid upset stomach.
            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.
            • People with poor kidney function can't use it.
            • Glucophage (Metformin) can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use Glucophage (Metformin). It may not be a good choice for people with kidney problems. Glucophage (Metformin) should be stopped 48 hours before and/or after surgery or any imaging procedure needing contrast dye.
            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).
            • Unlike some diabetes medicines, doesn't cause weight gain or low blood sugar.
            Upsides and benefits
            ByettaMetformin
            • 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.
            • A common first treatment for people with newly-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes.
            • The only oral diabetes medicine that lowers complications and deaths from conditions related to diabetes.
            • Lowers A1c levels by 1-2%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
            • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
            • Also lowers certain lipid (fat and cholesterol) levels.
            • Unlike some diabetes medicines, doesn't cause weight gain or low blood sugar.
            • You don't have to check your blood sugar every day with this medicine.
            • One of the least expensive diabetes medicines.
            Downsides and risks
            ByettaMetformin
            • 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.
            • Most people will have nausea, indigestion, or diarrhea in the first few weeks. You can minimize this if you take it on a full stomach.
            • People with poor kidney function can't use it.
            • Only works if your body can still make your own insulin, a hormone that tells your body what to do with sugar, protein, and fat.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            ByettaMetformin
            • 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.
            • Can cause upset stomach with nausea and especially diarrhea in the first couple of weeks.
            • Always take it with food or switch to the extended release version to avoid upset stomach.
            • Tell your doctor about any deep or rapid breathing, or persistent nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
            • Check your blood sugar regularly.
            Learn more
            More about ByettaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about MetforminSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert