Albiglutide (Subcutaneous)

Albiglutide is ideal for patients who have type 2 diabetes. It assists in decreasing the increased blood sugar levels by accelerating the secretion of insulin.


Albiglutide is a prescribed medicine for patients with type 2 diabetes because it helps in lowering blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes involves a condition where the body has high levels of blood sugars and lacks the control of blood sugar because the insulin produced is insufficient. Type 2 diabetes is caused by factors such as being overweight, plenty of glucose secretion from the liver, broken beta cells, and metabolism syndrome. Lifestyles such as smoking, excessive or little sleeping and lack of exercises increase the chances of type 2 diabetes. Patients can also have diabetes due to uncontrollable factors such as family, race, age, and ethnicity. The previously mentioned factors inhibit the secretion of insulin thus leading to the build-up of blood sugars.

Insights of Type 2 Diabetes

The disease has serious consequences including heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, neuropathy, hearing impairment, blindness, and kidney damage. Albiglutide helps in preventing the occurrence of these complications and maintaining the normal blood sugar level. Patients who aim to get better results use the treatment along with special diets, exercises, and quitting smoking. Albiglutide assists the pancreas to secrete the right quantity of insulin when there is an increase in blood sugar. In turn, insulin converts blood sugars into energy by transferring the sugars to the tissues of the body.

The medication also slows down the movement of food particles through the stomach. Glucose is important for the cell of the body because it is a source of energy. It becomes absorbed in the blood with the assistance of insulin. When a patient has type 2 diabetes, the whole process becomes disrupted and the blood sugar levels increases. Albiglutide is effective glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor agonists that stimulate secretion of insulin to reduce blood sugar levels. Patients who use this treatment can normalize their blood sugar levels by injecting themselves once a week.

Condition treated

  • Type 2 diabetes

Type of Medicine

  • Incretin mimetics

Side Effects

The common side effects include:

The Other Side Effects

Albiglutide may cause severe side effects that would require a doctor's attention, for instance, allergic reactions such as hives, peeling skin, wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, and itching. Besides, patients with signs of pancreatitis such as a severe backache, vomiting, and stomach pain should seek medical assistance immediately. Further, a patient may have a low blood sugar level when he/she uses albiglutide with their medications for treating the type 2 diabetes.

When the patient experiences an elevated heartbeat, hunger, headache, sweating, and feeling weak after using the two treatments, he/she should contact a doctor promptly. A patient should also seek further medical help when he/she experiences dizziness or symptoms of kidney problems, such as blood in urine or an inability to pass urine. Albiglutide may also have persistent side effects such as diarrhea, cough, joint pain, flu, backache, and itchiness at the injected area. A few patients experience signs of hypoglycemia, particularly when the treatment was added to insulin.

Some patients showed signs such as renal impairment, and arthralgia. Patients who complained of injection site reactions showed signs of skin rash, hypersensitivity, pruritus, and hemorrhage on the injected site. Some patients were discontinued from the treatment because of these signs. The patients who exhibited severe gastrointestinal reactions after using the treatment were suspended immediately. Even though the cases of pneumonia were minimal, patients with serious incidences of the disease were withheld from the medication, treated and monitored closely. Additionally, some patients reported that they got liver problems from the utilization of albiglutide.


The usual dose for a patient is 30mg per week during the initial phase. The dose is increased to 50mg per week after some time. The administration of albiglutide occurs weekly because a single dose of albiglutide has a half-life of three to five days. Albiglutide consists of a pre-filled dosing pen for mixing the powdered substance with water. During administration, albiglutide should be injected into a fatty part such as the belly or upper arm.

A patient should mix the medicine based on the doctor's prescription. If the mixture becomes cloudy, the patient should avoid using the medication. The solution should be yellow and injected within eight hours after forming a mixture. A patient should administer the injection at a different site from the insulin. Moreover, he/she should not use the same syringe for injecting albiglutide and insulin. The patient can take the shots with or without eating. A patient can adjust the weekly administration of albiglutide with a doctor's guidance. The administration of the medication should occur on the same day each week.

The albiglutide pen

The albiglutide pen is a crucial apparatus for the treatment. It contains two compartments: medicine and water. It is used for mixing water with the medicine before administration. Albiglutide is a single-use vial; thus patients should avoid sharing the treatment to reduce risks of infections. They should also be hygienic in handling the albiglutide pen to avoid mixing insulin with the treatment.

A patient should examine the albiglutide pen to know the expiry date. The pen should be discarded if it has expired. He/she should also twist the clear cartridge part of the pen until a number two appears on the window. The cartridge is designed to hold the medication and water. After inspection, the patient holds the cartridge with the pen in a vertical position while mixing the reconstitution solution. He/she should swirl the solution for a few minutes to form an even mixture. The patient should avoid shaking the reconstituted solution because it creates foams that will tamper with the dose.

Later, the patient should check the solution to ensure that the powder has fully dissolved. A pen that holds a dose of 30mg takes two to five minutes to dissolve the powder fully. Alternatively, a 50mg pen takes seven to 10 minutes for a complete dissolution to happen.

Self-Administration of Albiglutide

A patient can conduct self-administration by inserting the needle into the skin when it is primed. The needle should be used while primed to prevent the drug from clogging in the needle. The patient should hold the injection button longer to deliver the complete dose.

A patient should take his/her dose as prescribed by a doctor. In case of a missed dose, a patient should take the shot immediately. However, the patient should not take more than the required dose simultaneously. He/she should skip the forgotten doses and continue to take the other shots. If a patient forgets to take the medication for three days, he/she should take the medication in the subsequent dose schedule. Overdosing is harmful because it accelerates a decrease in blood sugar levels. If a patient overdoses, he/she should contact the nearest poison center or hospital to get medical assistance. Some of the symptoms of an overdosed patient include nausea and vomiting.

Tips for Patients

A patient should observe the doctor's instructions, for instance, carrying out blood sugar tests and following a workout plan and diet. He/she should also consult a doctor while undergoing stress because it will be hard to control the body's blood sugar during such scenarios. Additionally, a patient should inform the doctor when he/she is changing an exercise program or diet because these changes may affect the blood sugar level. If a patient wants to consume alcohol while taking the albiglutide dose, he/she should talk to a doctor.

Doctors and pharmacists should educate patients on how to use and store the albiglutide apparatus, as well as self-administration of the injection. They should also educate the patients about the doses, consuming concomitant drugs, and managing hypoglycemia.

The medical practitioners should tell the patients about the side effects of using the drug and the presence of thyroid C-cell tumor in rodents, as well as the absence of the tumors in humans. They should inform patients about the increased risk of hypoglycemia due to the use of a combination of the medication with insulin. Therefore, doctors should enlighten patients before allowing them to start medication.

What doctors should do

Albiglutide medication should be administered with care to guarantee the best results. Before commencing the whole procedure, patients should seek information about the medication, side effects, and how to use the treatment. This will help them to conduct self-administrations at their homes without the hassle of visiting the hospital every week. They should also be prepared for several laboratory tests to check their blood sugar levels and determine the right dose.

Patients should also be willing to share information about their medical history including personal and family medical conditions for diseases like MTC. They should be free to ask questions before starting the medication.


Since albiglutide causes hypersensitivity including skin rash and angioedema, patients should be discontinued from the medication when they show these signs. They should be treated and monitored closely for any symptoms of hypersensitivity. If a patient has a previous case of hypersensitivity, they should not start using the medication. Additionally, albiglutide should be administered to patients with a history of angioedema cautiously.

Animal studies have exhibited thyroid tumors after using albiglutide. In humans, the treatment can cause thyroid C-cell tumors such as medullary thyroid carcinoma or MTC. Therefore, patients should be aware of the possibility of getting MTC while using albiglutide as well as the symptoms of thyroid tumor such as persistent hoarseness, dyspnea, increased neck mass and dysphagia. Albiglutide is contraindicated in patients with MEN2 (Multiple Neoplasia syndrome types 2) or patients who have a personal past of MTC.

Patients should, therefore, understand that utilizing thyroid ultrasound monitoring or repetitive monitoring of serum calcitonin is important for earlier detection of MTC. Patients should keep laboratory tests with their doctors to monitor their blood sugars. They should also read the information leaflets when they are commencing treatment and going to refill their medication.

Patients should avoid using the treatment if they have pre-existing severe gastrointestinal infections. Patients with renal impairment should also be cautious when using albiglutide, especially in the initial phase and the other phase. This is because of the reports of increased renal failure after using the treatment. These patients also exhibited symptoms such as dehydration, nausea, and diarrhea.

In an animal study, albiglutide affects the animal's reproduction system. Therefore, the treatment should be discontinued a month before planning to become pregnant. Concomitant use with other drugs may occur, but patients should consult their doctors before commencing the treatment. Albiglutide should not be used for treating patients with either type 1 diabetes or diabetes ketoacidosis. Additionally, the treatment is also not an alternative to insulin.

Patients with pancreatitis cannot administer the treatment because the study of albiglutide has not been conducted on patients with the disease. Therefore, these patients should use the other antidiabetic therapies in treating their condition. Patients should be cautious when sharing information about their medical condition. They should talk to qualified medical practitioners to guide them in the proper management of their blood sugar and identifying the problems associated with diabetes. They should also follow the doctor's prescriptions including participating in exercise programs to lose weight and eating healthy meals. Patients should keep the used needles safely to avoid causing harm to others.

Patients undergoing the treatment should be cautious with their diet because some diets might affect their blood sugar. Therefore, they should follow the doctor's prescribed diet to prevent further complications. Even though the research on the effects of albiglutide to infants is unclear, lactating mothers should stop using the medication because the medicine passes through the milk to the baby. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid using the medication since there is no clear research about the effect of using the treatment while pregnant.

Drug interaction

Levothyroxine: Concomitant use of levothyroxine alongside albiglutide affects the response of albiglutide. Levothyroxine may inhibit albiglutide from controlling blood glucose and decrease its effectiveness as well as the other treatments for diabetes. Patients should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and seek a dose adjustment after using levothyroxine.

Insulin glargine: Combination of albiglutide with insulin glargine increases the chances of getting low blood glucose and hypoglycemia. A patient may also show sign such as confusion, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, tremor, palpitation, hunger, and weakness. He/she should consult a doctor to get a dose adjustment. Alternatively, the patient can have regular monitoring of blood sugar while using the two medications.

Albiglutide increased the metabolism activity of simvastatin, but it did not affect follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and progesterone hormone.

The other medications include:

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Didoxin Laxon
  • Acetylsalicylic acid
  • Aminosalicylic Acid
  • Aloxiprin
  • Benmoxin
  • Balsalazide


Albiglutide should be kept in its container and away from the reach of children. Patients should keep the medication at room temperature for a maximum of four weeks before utilization or in a refrigerator. The treatment should be away from moisture or extreme heat.

Patients should keep the albiglutide pens safely in a refrigerator at a temperature ranging between 34 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The patient should discard the pen if it is damaged or frozen. Additionally, they should utilize the solution within the pen within eight hours.

Disposal of the medication

Patients should adopt proper disposal techniques to avoid exposing the medication to pets or children. They should get rid of the products through a medicine take-back program, instead of throwing them in a toilet.


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects both adults and obese children. This disease can result in death when it is not controlled with proper medication. Albiglutide is the best solution for patients who have type 2 diabetes because it accelerates the release of insulin from the pancreas thus decreasing the increased blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous disease that can result in blindness and hypertension. Patients can also get kidney damage, heart disease, skin diseases, and Alzheimer's disease. Thankfully, patients can control their blood sugar and lead a normal life through the albiglutide treatment. The medication works well when a patient follows the doctor's instructions. For instance, administering the dose once a week, reading the leaflet information, and attending the appointments for blood sugar tests regularly.

A patient can avoid complications by changing his/her lifestyle such as eating healthy meals, quitting smoking and exercising regularly while taking the medication. While self-administering the treatment, patients should be cautious to avoid mixing insulin with albiglutide. They should also follow the doctor's prescription and avoid overdosing when they miss a dose. In case of a missed dose, patients should not take additional drugs. Additionally, patients who overdose should seek medical attention or call a neighboring poison center immediately.

Concomitant usage of albiglutide with other treatment may cause harm to a patient. For instance, a combination of the mediation with insulin glargine accelerates a decrease in blood glucose. Further, patients should seek approval from a doctor before starting the treatment and inform him/her about medical conditions such as allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems, and pancreatitis.

Albiglutide also contains several side effects that would require medical intervention, for instance, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, headache, and dizziness. The administration of the medication is restricted to patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients with a history of MTC cannot use the medication because of the possibility of developing thyroid tumors. A patient should receive important guidelines from an experienced doctor before commencing treatment. This is because the patient should know proper management practices and self-administering the treatment in the absence of the doctor.

Patients should keep their medication safely and out of the grasp of children. They should often ask questions, particularly if they are beginners in using the albiglutide pen. The pen requires proper handling and storage. For instance, it should be placed in a refrigerator or at room temperature. A patient should discard the pen if it is broken or frozen. When administering the injection, patients should inject themselves into the subcutaneous parts including thigh, upper arm, and the belly.

Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018
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