Bydureon BCise Side Effects: Nausea, Headache, Injection Site Reactions

Bydureon BCise is the brand name for exenatide, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. 

Exenatide is in a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. These medications work to slow digestion and alter hormones that impact satiety.

Not only can Bydureon help make you feel fuller longer after eating (which can lead to reduced caloric intake and weight loss), but it also stimulates insulin secretion while reducing glucagon secretion.

Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels, so stimulating insulin secretion is a good thing if you have high blood sugar levels. 

Glucagon is a hormone that raises your blood sugar, so reducing glucagon secretion is ideal if you’re already dealing with high blood glucose levels.

Bydureon is an injectable medication. The recommended dose is 2 milligrams injected under the skin every seven days (once weekly). 

The prefilled injector pens contain your full weekly dose, so you’ll only use one pen each week.

Keep reading to learn the side effects of Bydureon and how to reduce or prevent them.

13 side effects of Bydureon BCise 

All medications come with potential risks and side effects. Which side effects you experience – and how severe they are – varies among individuals. 

We’ll review some of the more common side effects of Bydureon BCise as well as the more serious (but less common) ones.


According to the manufacturer of Bydureon BCise, nausea is the most common side effect in people taking it. 

You might experience nausea with or without vomiting while taking Bydureon. Feeling nauseous can make it difficult to eat and can interfere with your quality of life.

If you feel nauseous while taking Bydureon, consider trying some of the following tips:

  • Eat a bland diet – for instance, eating dry toast, broth-based soup, and other foods that are easy to digest can help with nausea, which can worsen if you have an empty stomach.
  • Try natural nausea remedies like peppermint or ginger. You can buy ginger chews to help with nausea.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you’d be a good candidate for an anti-nausea medication as your body gets used to Bydureon. You’re less likely to experience nausea the longer you take Bydureon as your body gets used to it.


If you experience diarrhea while taking Bydureon, here are some tips to help manage it:

  • Sip on clear liquids to stay hydrated since severe diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. 
  • If your diarrhea is severe for several days, contact your healthcare provider. If you become dehydrated from diarrhea, it can lead to other issues like kidney problems.
  • Reduce the fiber in your diet and opt for a bland diet (similar to the kind for nausea). Crackers, dry toast, applesauce, lean protein like chicken breast and eggs, and broth-based soups are easy to digest and shouldn’t worsen the diarrhea.
  • Avoid high-fat foods until the diarrhea improves or resolves.
  • You may want to reduce your caffeine intake if you’re experiencing diarrhea since caffeine stimulates your bowels and can worsen diarrhea.
  • Consider taking a soluble fiber supplement to help reduce diarrhea. Soluble fiber absorbs liquid and can help thicken stools to reduce diarrhea.

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Along with nausea, you might experience vomiting while taking Bydureon. These unpleasant side effects should go away as you get used to taking Bydureon. If vomiting persists or is severe, speak with your healthcare provider.

In the meantime, be sure to stay hydrated if you’re vomiting to help prevent dehydration and other issues related to dehydration.


The opposite of diarrhea might occur while taking Bydureon, and you could become constipated. 

If this happens, there are several things you can do to promote healthy digestion and reduce constipation.

  • Increase your fluid intake. Not drinking enough fluids can worsen constipation and lead to hard, dry stools. 
  • Increase your physical activity since being active can help stimulate your digestive system and aid in reducing constipation.
  • Boost your fiber intake to thwart constipation. Fiber is found in plant-based foods like:
    • Legumes
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Whole grains 
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Fibrous fatty fruits like avocados and shredded coconut


If you develop a headache from taking Bydureon, ask your healthcare provider about any over-the-counter medications you should take, such as acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen.

In addition to OTC medications, aim to stay hydrated to help ease any headaches you might get from Bydureon. 

Some headaches might be related to dehydration, so treating the dehydration could help you get rid of your headache.

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Dizziness & low blood sugar

While rare, hypoglycemia is a potential side effect of Bydureon, especially if you take it with other diabetes medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas.

If you develop other signs of low blood sugar while taking Bydureon, you should check your blood sugar and treat hypoglycemia until your blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL.

Other signs of hypoglycemia to watch out for include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hunger
  • Irritability

If your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL, treat it by consuming 15 grams of carbohydrates and re-checking your blood sugar in 15 minutes. 

Things that contain 15 grams of carbohydrates include:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ⅓-½ cup of fruit juice
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small piece of fruit

If you’re feeling dizzy, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you feel better.

Reduced appetite

Experiencing a reduced appetite is a normal symptom of Bydureon and is partly how it works (reduced appetite = less food consumption = potential weight loss, which can improve blood sugar levels).

If you’re not feeling very hungry while taking Bydureon, here are some tips to help.

  • Eat small meals and snacks every few hours instead of large meals.
  • Drink liquids in between meals, not with meals, since they can make you feel full sooner, and you might not be able to finish your meal.
  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods like lean protein (chicken breast, eggs, low-fat dairy, etc.) to ensure you don’t lose muscle if you experience weight loss due to a reduced appetite.

Injection site lump

You might develop a small raised bump at your injection site. According to the manufacturer of Bydureon, this is completely normal and is a response to the tiny beads in Bydureon BCise that slowly release medicine over time. In clinical studies, the bump usually disappears in an average of 4 weeks.

If you develop painful swelling at your injection site or other signs of irritation like a scab, contact your healthcare provider.

Potential allergic reaction

It’s possible that you could be allergic to Bydureon BCise or its ingredients. If you develop any of the signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention right away. 

Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include:

  • Hives
  • Itching of your skin or eyes 
  • Skin rash 
  • Swelling of your lips, tongue, or face
  • Wheezing


While it’s more rare, pancreatitis is a potential side effect of Bydureon. Pancreatitis is the painful inflammation of your pancreas, the organ that produces insulin.

If you develop signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. 

Some of the signs of pancreatitis include:

  • Severe belly pain that might spread to your back or chest (it might feel worse after you eat)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Swelling and tenderness in your upper abdomen

how to relieve pancreatitis pain

Thyroid tumors

GLP-1 receptor agonists like Bydureon have a black box warning from the FDA for their potential to cause thyroid tumors. 

In animal studies, Bydureon and medications like it caused thyroid tumors, but it’s unclear if it’s likely to cause thyroid cancer in humans.

You shouldn’t take Bydureon if you have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or a condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

If you develop a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention since these can be signs of a thyroid tumor.

Gallbladder problems

Some people taking Bydureon and medications like it have developed gallbladder problems. According to studies, the active ingredient in Bydureon reduced gallbladder emptying by 40% in test subjects, which could explain why it can cause gallbladder issues.

Signs of gallbladder problems to watch out for include:

  • Pain in your right or middle upper stomach area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes

Kidney problems

If you experience severe dehydration while taking Bydureon, it could injure your kidneys. If you have persistent nausea and vomiting that aren’t getting better, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider will likely monitor your kidney function while taking Bydureon.

*It’s important to monitor kidney health if you have type 2 diabetes, regardless of the medication you take.

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How long do Bydureon’s adverse effects last?

The manufacturer of Bydureon states that side effects are likely to go away as your body gets used to it, but they don’t specify how long that will take.

In general, you should start to experience fewer side effects (or a reduction in their intensity) after you’ve been taking the medication for a few weeks.

If your side effects are interfering with your health or quality of life and aren’t subsiding after several weeks, you should reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance.

How to avoid side effects when taking Bydureon (Exenatide)

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid medication side effects. Everyone is different, so some might experience more severe side effects while others only have minor side effects.

The best way to reduce side effects while taking Bydureon is to take it as prescribed. Taking too much Bydureon is likely to cause more severe side effects. 

What happens if you miss a dose of Bydureon?

If there are at least three days before your next scheduled dose, take your missed dose and then resume your regular dosing schedule. 

If there are fewer than three days between your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume the normal dosing schedule.

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Is it safe to use Bydureon?

Bydureon is considered a safe option for treating type 2 diabetes in people who don’t have contraindicated health issues (like a history of thyroid problems or an allergic reaction to Bydureon’s ingredients).

All medications come with potential risks. If your healthcare provider has prescribed Bydureon, it’s because they believe the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Some precautions should be taken when Bydureon is used in certain people, such as:

  • Children under the age of ten shouldn’t take Bydureon.
  • Pregnant women should avoid Bydureon 
  • Caution should be taken by nursing mothers since it’s unclear if Bydureon is transferred to breast milk.
  • People taking warfarin (a blood thinner) should be monitored extra closely while taking Bydureon since taking it can increase the risk of bleeding by thinning the blood too much.
  • Bydureon isn’t meant to treat diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in patients with type 1 diabetes.

According to studies, Bydureon is considered safe and effective as a treatment for type 2 diabetes when used alone or with another diabetes medication. However, it is not recommended to be used as a first-line treatment.

The reason Bydureon isn’t recommended as a first-line treatment is because there are other medications that are effective with fewer side effects and risks that you should try first (such as metformin). 

If they don’t work, then you could try Bydureon later on – just speak with your healthcare provider to determine which medication is best for you.


Bydureon BCise is a once-weekly injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist used to treat type 2 diabetes. 

It’s only available in the once-weekly injection (BCise), as regular Bydureon was discontinued in 2020.

Some of the potential side effects of Bydureon BCise include nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite, diarrhea, and a lump at the injection site.

More rarely, Bydureon and medications like it can cause pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and thyroid tumors.

Side effects of Bydureon are likely to diminish as your body gets used to the medication, which typically occurs over the course of several weeks.

To help minimize the side effects of Bydureon BCise, be sure to take it as prescribed. You might also need to alter your diet as needed to reduce side effects (such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, etc).

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  1. Li B, Hu Y, Wang G, Liu L. The effect of exenatide on fasting bile acids in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus patients, a pilot study. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2020 Jun 15;21(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s40360-020-00422-5. PMID: 32539783; PMCID: PMC7296654.
  2. Bridges A, Bistas KG, Jacobs TF. Exenatide. 2023 May 29. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30085523.

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