Managing diabetes can be a challenging journey, and a significant part of that journey is understanding how to handle and store your medication correctly.
If you're using Byetta injections for your type 2 diabetes treatment, you know how essential they are in helping you maintain your blood sugar levels within the safe range. But do you know the best practices for storing and handling your Byetta injector pens?
Proper storage conditions are crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of your diabetes treatment, and good handling techniques can make your exenatide injections safer, more efficient, and more comfortable.
So, let’s explore the ins and outs of Byetta pen storage and handling. We'll delve into the manufacturer's storage instructions and share our best tips for keeping your medication safe and effective, whether at home or traveling!
Related article: Does Insulin Need to Be Refrigerated?
What is Byetta?
Byetta is the brand name of exenatide, a prescription medication used to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
It’s an injectable drug usually administered via subcutaneous injections (under the skin). It must be used with diet and exercise and may be prescribed with other diabetes medications such as Metformin.
Byetta is usually taken twice daily within 60 minutes before the morning and evening meals. The exact dosage can vary based on your needs and doctor's prescription.
Related article: Does Mounjaro Need to Be Refrigerated & How to Store Your Pens Correctly?
How does Byetta work?
Exenatide, the active ingredient in Byetta, belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.
It works by stimulating the pancreas to secrete insulin when blood sugar levels are high, slowing the emptying of the stomach, and reducing the amount of glucose the liver produces. All of these actions ultimately help lower blood sugar levels.
Additionally, Byetta helps reduce appetite, which can help diabetics with weight management issues.
Like all medications, Byetta has potential side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jittery, dizziness, headache, acid stomach, and pancreatitis. As always, discuss potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider before taking Byetta.
Byetta vs. Insulin
Both Byetta and insulin are anti-diabetic injectable drugs that lower blood sugar levels. However, they work in very different ways.
As mentioned above, Byetta works by mimicking the action of a hormone called GLP-1 to stimulate the body’s natural insulin secretion when blood glucose levels are high. In contrast, insulin therapy directly replaces the insulin the body can’t produce to lower blood sugars.
Ultimately, the choice between Byetta, insulin, or a combination of both depends on many factors, including individual health status, lifestyle, the type and severity of diabetes, the response to medications, potential side effects, and others. It's a decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.
Related article: Ozempic vs. Insulin, What’s The Difference?
Byetta vs. Ozempic
Byetta (exenatide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are both injectable medications used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. They both belong to the same class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, or incretin mimetics, which mimic the effects of the natural incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
Other similar GLP-1 drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes include Mounjaro, Trulicity (dulaglutide), Victoza (liraglutide), Saxenda (liraglutide), Bydureon (discontinued), Adlyxin, and others.
Here are the main differences between Byetta and Ozempic:
- Administration: Byetta is usually injected twice daily, while Ozempic is injected once weekly, which may be more convenient for some patients.
- Efficacy: Studies have suggested that Ozempic may be more effective at reducing blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss than Byetta. For example, the SUSTAIN trials showed a significant reduction in HbA1c and weight for patients using Ozempic.
- Cardiovascular benefits: Ozempic has been shown to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.
Remember, the choice of medication depends on individual characteristics, including blood sugar control, kidney function, risk of cardiovascular disease, weight, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
It's also important to remember that these medications are used within an overall diabetes management plan that includes diet, exercise, and possibly other drugs. As always, all treatment decisions should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider.
Related article: How to Properly Store & Refrigerate Ozempic in All Situations?
Byetta Injector Pens
Byetta (exenatide) is supplied in a prefilled injection pen that delivers 5 or 10 micrograms (mcg) doses. Each pen contains 60 doses, so if you're taking Byetta twice a day, one pen will last 30 days. The disposable pens must be thrown away 30 days after the first use, even if there’s still medicine inside.
Byetta injector pens must be used with disposable needles (take a new one for each injection) that must be disposed of in sharps containers.
Byetta pens are user-friendly and designed to facilitate self-injection at home. Detailed instructions for use are included in the box, although you should have received proper injection technique training from your nurse or doctor.
Related article: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Insulin Pens for Injections
Does Byetta Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, Byetta needs to be refrigerated. Its active ingredient, exenatide, is a biological drug created through biological processes, not chemical synthesis. Biologics are naturally unstable and extremely sensitive to temperatures and storage conditions.
Failure to follow proper storage instructions for your Byetta pens may result in a partial or total loss of your drug’s efficacy.
Byetta storage instructions
Byetta injector pens must be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until first use or expiration date.
After the first use, Byetta pens can be kept at room temperature below 77°F (25°C) and should be used within 30 days.
The manufacturer also warns patients not to freeze their Byetta pens, as freezing temperatures can destroy the medicine inside. Additionally, keep your injector pens protected from light.
How long can it stay out of the fridge?
There are no specific instructions for how long a Byetta pen can stay out of the fridge. However, a Byetta pen must be thrown away 30 days after the first use, even if there’s still medicine inside.
Each pen contains 60 subcutaneous doses of exenatide for a total of 30 days of use (2 injections per day).
Never use a Byetta pen that’s been opened or out of the fridge for over 30 days or exposed to temperatures above 77°F (25°C), even briefly.
Related article: How to Put Up With (and Support!) Your Diabetic Wife or Husband?
Byetta Travel Cases
Byetta’s instability and specific storage instructions imply some precautions when traveling with your diabetes injections. Most patients use a travel cooler, the most convenient and reliable way to ensure your Byetta pens are transported at the recommended temperature range.
Related article: How to Keep Insulin Cold While Traveling?
There are really two situations where you must use a travel cooling case for your Byetta pens:
Outside temperatures above 77°F (25°C)
Again, according to Byetta’s manufacturer, the diabetes injection can stay unrefrigerated after first use but must be kept at room temperature below 77°F (25°C). In no case should exenatide be exposed to warmer temperatures, even briefly.
Therefore, when living in or traveling to hot-weather places, you need a travel cooler, like 4AllFamily’s Rambler or Companion, to protect your injections from the ambient temperature and keep them cool.
The Rambler can keep one Byetta pen cool below 79°F (26°C) for 12 hours, even when it's 104°F (40°C) outside!
The Companion insulated bag keeps up to 3 Byetta pens cool for up to 10 hours on the hottest summer days!
Traveling with Byetta for more than a month
Things get a bit trickier when traveling with Byetta for over a month. As you know already by now, Byetta pens must be kept refrigerated between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until first use. And once opened, a pen must be used within 30 days maximum.
As a result, anyone traveling with Byetta injections that will be used in more than four weeks must use a portable travel refrigerator.
Depending on your trips, you can choose between different models that function with electricity, battery, or simple ice packs.
The Pioneer from 4AllFamily is a real medical-grade travel fridge designed specifically for refrigerated drugs like Byetta, insulin, and others. It’s the most performant and convenient model on the market today.
This mini-fridge keeps your injections refrigerated between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) for up to 12 hours when running on its battery (extra battery packs available for extended off-grid refrigeration time!). Alternatively, if you have access to electricity (household power, portable solar panel, USB car cigarette lighter, portable power bank, etc...), you can use it as an actual fridge for unlimited time.
The Pioneer travel fridge can hold up to 4 Byetta pens and has a special room-temperature compartment to protect your tablets like Metformin or other drugs from heat, light, and moisture!
Should you have any inquiries about our products, please don't hesitate to contact our support team. We’re here to help!
Related article: The Ultimate Checklist for Traveling With Diabetes!
What about you? Are you on Byetta? How do you keep your injections cool while traveling?