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Byetta Benefits in Controlling Blood Sugar

Diabetes has always had a very bad reputation. Not rarely the disorder has been treated by people as a death sentence. However, for the past dozens of years the science of medicine has made a significant progress in understanding diabetes and discovering new options to keep diabetes under strict control. The medicines against diabetes become more and more improved and sophisticated these days; and sometimes new weapons are derived from the most unexpected sources…

Byetta is a vivid example of the modern and highly sophisticated options to treat diabetes, namely type 2 diabetes, which is the most widely occurring form of the disorder. Amazingly, but the medication is nothing but a synthetic version of a hormone, found in the saliva of Gila monster – a venomous lizard, native to the southern regions of the USA.

Not only the origin of the medication is really amazing, but the way how “a lizard spit” (another name for Byetta) helps people control their diabetes. In fact, the medication works in an absolutely different way than any other anti-diabetes medications or insulin. Exenatidine, which is the working ingredient of the medication, has properties similar to the human incretin hormone or GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1).

The key is that the mentioned hormone is normally produced in the human digestive tract and works like a regulator of insulin production by beta cells in pancreas. Once the food is broken down into simple compounds, including glucose, in the intestines - incretin signals pancreas to produce more insulin in order to deliver glucose into the body cells, where it is used for energy; and, on the hand, when the amount of glucose is low – incretin sends messages to pancreas to stop producing insulin and thus keeps the level of blood sugar at steady level.

Interfering into the process of food metabolism, Byetta just mimics the work of natural hormone incretin. By the way, it deals not only with pancreas to regulate the release of insulin. Byetta also communicates with liver, sending commands either to stop producing glucose, when it is not required, or to release some glucose into the bloodstream in order to avoid hypoglycemia.

Another key feature of Byetta is that the medication can slow down the process of food digestion. This leads to several benefits to people with type 2 diabetes. First of all, this helps to make glucose absorption into the blood steadier, eliminating rapid jumps of blood sugar immediately after meals. Besides, the longer food is digested, - the less hungry we feel. That is why clinical trial showed that most patients on Byetta lose weight, which is also of key importance for treating diabetes and preventing its consequences.

Unfortunately, the story of Byetta is not only about benefits and improvements. The fact that the medication can be delivered only by injection definitely entails some inconveniences. On the other hand, people with diabetes mostly are emotionally ready for injections, because it is usually not the major concern for them. Besides, special medicine-filled pens are available, which makes Byetta injections (twice daily 60-minutes before eating) quite easy to perform by patient himself at the comfortable environment.

More serious concerns may be caused by side effects, associated with Byetta treatment. While in most cases Byetta may only cause minor gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, loss of appetite or weight loss; there is also some risk to develop pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas while on Byetta. It is still undefined whether the reported cases of acute pancreatitis have strong relationship with Byetta or with some other factors; but to be on safe side it is better to watch out such symptoms as severe pain in the upper abdomen with nausea, vomiting and fast heart rate.

Anyway, Byetta still remains an amazing example, showing how modern medicine managed to turn a spit of a lizard into a potent medication against type 2 diabetes. With the vast range of anti-diabetes medications, diabetes is no longer a death sentence for humans; and with every new discovery in the field of pharmaceutics we are getting closer to finding a complete cure of diabetes.

 
Nick


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