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Common Brand Name(s): Actos
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Pioglitazone may rarely cause or worsen a certain heart problem (heart failure). Tell your doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of heart failure, including: shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain.
This medication is not recommended for people with certain types of heart failure. Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have heart failure.
Pioglitazone is a diabetes drug (thiazolidinedione-type, also called "glitazones") used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It works by helping to restore your body's proper response to insulin, thereby lowering your blood sugar.
Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Pioglitazone is used either alone or in combination with other diabetes medications (such as metformin or a sulfonylurea such as glyburide).
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of pioglitazone.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using pioglitazone and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and if you are taking other diabetes drugs. Your doctor will adjust your dose based on your blood sugar to find the best dose for you. Follow your doctor's directions carefully.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day.
If you are already taking another diabetes drug (such as metformin or a sulfonylurea), follow your doctor's directions carefully for stopping/continuing the old drug and starting this medication. Carefully follow the medication treatment plan, meal plan, and exercise program your doctor has recommended.
Check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your doctor. Keep track of the results, and share them with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your blood sugar measurements are too high or too low. Your dosage/treatment may need to be changed. It may take up to 2 to 3 months before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
See also Warning section.
Sore throat, muscle pain, weight gain, or tooth problems may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Pioglitazone may rarely cause liver disease. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver disease, including:
Pioglitazone does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications (such as insulin or a sulfonylurea). Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking pioglitazone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while taking this medication because it can increase the risk of developing low blood sugar.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because increased stress may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Pioglitazone may increase the risk of bone fracture in women (usually in the upper arm, hand, or foot). See also Notes section.
Pioglitazone can cause changes in the menstrual cycle (promote ovulation) and increase the risk of becoming pregnant. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable birth control while using this medication.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Your doctor may substitute insulin for this drug during your pregnancy. Follow all instructions carefully.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Other medications can affect the removal of pioglitazone from your body, which may affect how pioglitazone works. Examples include gemfibrozil, rifamycins including rifampin, among others.
Beta-blocker medications (such as metoprolol, propranolol, glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may prevent the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, hunger, or sweating, are unaffected by these drugs.
Many drugs can affect your blood sugar, making it harder to control. Before you start, stop, or change any medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how the medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See also Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Attend a diabetes education program to learn more about how to manage your diabetes with medications, diet, exercise, and regular medical exams.
Learn the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and how to treat low blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes that help promote healthy bones include increasing weight-bearing exercise, eating well-balanced meals containing adequate calcium and vitamin D, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol. Consult your doctor to see if you need to take calcium/vitamin D supplements and discuss lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, complete blood counts, eye exams) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised May 2022.
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