Life Without Byetta or Bydureon

Last October, I started an experiment to see if I could do without Byetta or Bydureon after I got concerned over reports of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer attached to the drugs.

My fears may or may not be real, but the warnings on the promotional material scared me.  I know its a risk you take with any new drug, when there are not long track records to ascertain possible ill side-effects. But after talking with my endo, I dropped the drug, and worked on changing my diet. I cut out breads, grains and most fruit  (I occasionally eat berries) and upped my protein and veggies. And after four months, without Byetta or Bydureon, I’m here to report that my most recent A1C was — wait for it — 5.6. I know! The only issue now is that because I increased my protein, I may have overindulged in the bacon and fat pyramid, so my cholesterol was a tad higher. (It’s always something.) So now I’m limiting my proteins to chicken, nuts, fish, and egg whites.

The dirty little secret about eating this way is that as long as you keep a lot of variety in your diet, it’s amazingly easy. I’ve mastered a million different kinds of omlettes (my favorite is asparagus, dried tomatoes and low-fat Swiss cheese) and tried some new recipes, including a shepherd’s pie with whipped cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes. I’ve continued my regular exercise of about an hour a day, either on a recumbent bike or a weight lifting class. At the start I was a bit cranky, and maybe a bit tired, but overall, I’m pretty much back to my normal self.

My endo worries that this might not be sustainable, and he may be right. But for the moment, I’m glad I gave up the Byetta. I have to admit that it was nice losing weight (I dropped fourteen pounds on the drug and gained back four), but for me, the risks were a bit too high.

Comments (2)

  1. Marie Worman at

    Ilene,

    I am so glad you published this article.  I am experiencing the EXACT same worries as I was on Byetta (just went off last week) and now they have me on Victoza, both of which state they can cause pancreatic cancer. I would much rather deal with high blood sugars than cancer.  I was going to call my doctor today to discuss maybe going on insulin instead of these meds, but after your story, maybe I will stay on the Amaryl and severely change my diet and exercise plan.  I would love to discuss further with you since that past few weeks I have been in a panic since I have been told to start the Victoza as those side effects are even worse than the Byetta (If you can imagine that)! Thanks so much for sharing and please keep us (me) informed.  

    Marie Worman
     

  2. Elizabeth at

    Ilene
    I am so impressed at your level of personal responsibility!  Such determination and will power!  Your story is proof that we control much more of our own health than we realize.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with others.
    Elizabeth

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