Me and My Byetta

Byetta, which came on the market last year, was developed to help people with type 2 diabetes who weren’t getting adequate blood glucose control using other drugs. Any associated weight loss was only incidental.

My blood glucose control is good with A1C levels in the low 6s. For me, weight loss is the main event. When I learned in 1994 that I had diabetes, I lost weight for a year. But since then, my weight has crept up. Since I started on Byetta just three and a half months ago, I’ve already lost 48 pounds.

I have known about the concept that eventually became Byetta for more than eight years. More than four years ago, I wrote what I believe was the first article about it.

Still, I didn’t jump on Byetta right away, because people in the clinical trials didn’t lose that much weight. For example, those who took it for a year lost less than eight pounds.

It was only early this year, after I interviewed Joe Prendergast, MD, an endocrinologist in Redwood City, Calif., that I decided to try Byetta. He told me that the average weight loss of his 200 patients taking Byetta was 35 pounds. Since then, I’ve learned that it’s common for patients to lose a lot more weight compared with the marginal weight loss experienced by those patients enrolled in clinical trials. The difference may be the strict protocol of clinical trials. Or it might be motivation.

Now I’ve got that motivation. For the first time in my life, I haven’t had to struggle to lose weight because Byetta helps to control hunger. It also gives me more energy than I’ve had in years. I feel 10 years younger.

By October 2007, my goal is to weigh the same or less than I weighed when I got out of the army 50 years ago. That goal is now within sight.

Editor’s note: The author owns stock in Amylin, the company that developed Byetta.

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