Generic Name: pioglitazone (oral) (PYE o GLIT a zone)
Brand Names: Actos
Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Jun 24, 2019.
What is Actos?
Actos (pioglitazone) is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels.
Actos is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Actos is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
You should not use Actos if you have severe or uncontrolled heart failure, active bladder cancer, or diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin). This medicine is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
Actos can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, or rapid weight gain.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Actos if you are allergic to pioglitazone, or if you have:
This medication may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk.
To make sure Actos is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
congestive heart failure or heart disease;
a heart attack or stroke;
eye problems caused by diabetes;
bladder cancer; or
Actos may increase your risk of serious heart problems, but not treating your diabetes can also damage your heart and other organs. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medicine.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about using this medicine if you are pregnant. Blood sugar control is very important during pregnancy, and your dose needs may be different during each trimester.
Pioglitazone may stimulate ovulation in a premenopausal woman and may increase the risk of unintended pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your risk.
Women may be more likely to have a broken bone while using Actos. Talk with your doctor about ways to keep your bones healthy.
It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
Actos is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take Actos?
Take Actos exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Actos is usually taken once daily, with or without food.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, and feeling shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.
Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.
Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.
Actos is only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Actos dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:
-Patients without congestive heart failure:
Initial dose: 15 mg or 30 mg orally once a day
-Patients with congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] Class I or II):
Initial dose: 15 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 15 mg to 45 mg orally once a day based on glycemic response as determined by HbA1c
Maximum dose: 45 mg orally once a day
-This drug exerts its antihyperglycemic effect only in the presence of endogenous insulin and therefore is not expected to be effective in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or diabetic ketoacidosis.
-Patients concomitantly receiving an insulin secretagogue or insulin may need to reduce the dose of the insulin secretagogue or insulin if hypoglycemia occurs.
Use: As an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus in multiple clinical settings
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. You may have signs of low blood sugar, such as extreme weakness, blurred vision, sweating, trouble speaking, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, and seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking Actos?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.
Actos side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Actos: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Actos and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of liver damage: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Call your doctor at once if you have:
shortness of breath (especially when lying down), unusual tiredness, swelling, rapid weight gain;
pink or red urine, painful or difficult urination, new or worsening urge to urinate;
changes in your vision; or
sudden unusual pain in your hand, arm, or foot.
Some people taking this medicine have had bladder cancer, but it is not clear if pioglitazone was the actual cause.
Common Actos side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Actos?
Tell your doctor if you use insulin. Taking Actos while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.
Many drugs can interact with pioglitazone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Actos only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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