Exenatide Once Weekly: A Review of Pharmacology and Treatment Considerations in Type 2 Diabetes

Clin Ther. 2016 Mar;38(3):582-94. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2016.01.014. Epub 2016 Feb 28.


Purpose: The pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus is complex and involves multiple organs and hormones, suggesting that successful treatment may require therapies that target multiple mechanisms. Exenatide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist, has a multifaceted mechanism of action involving pancreatic α and β cells, hepatic glucose production, gastric motility, and satiety. Exenatide once weekly (a twice-daily formulation is also available) utilizes continuous release from biodegradable microspheres. This review discusses relevant efficacy and tolerability outcomes with exenatide once weekly in the context of its pharmacology.

Methods: The medical literature was searched to identify relevant data on the pharmacology and clinical effects of exenatide once weekly.

Findings: Exenatide once weekly, like the twice-daily formulation, has been shown to improve glycemic parameters, promote weight loss, result in beneficial changes in cardiovascular risk factors, and is well-tolerated.

Implications: The characteristics of exenatide once weekly make it a treatment option for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: delayed-action preparations; exenatide; pharmacology; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Exenatide
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Peptides / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Factors
  • Venoms / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Venoms
  • Exenatide