Compare Levemir vs. Actos

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Levemir
(insulin detemir)

Actos
(pioglitazone)

Lowers blood sugar. Levemir is a long-acting insulin that provides all-day sugar control. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.Lowers blood sugar. Actos (Pioglitazone) is a last-choice blood sugar-lowering medicine since it's only moderately effective but has a lot of undesirable side effects.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.39Levemir
Reviews for Levemir
45%
of people (All ages) say Levemir is worth it
35%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
130 reviews
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Actos
42%
+3% better vs. Levemir
30%
+5% better vs. Levemir
21%
-1% worse vs. Levemir
175 reviews
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LevemirActos
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 26%
  • Headache 23%
  • Sore throat 10%
  • Influenza-like illness 8%
  • Abdominal pain 6%
  • "stomach flu" 17%
  • Fever 10%
  • Cough 8%
  • Viral infection 7%
  • Nausea 7%
More Levemir side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 4%
  • Headache 2%
  • Cardiac failure 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
  • Muscle pain 2%
More Actos side effects »
How it works
LevemirActos
Levemir is a long-acting insulin medicine for diabetes. It acts like the insulin that your body normally makes to process sugars and fats, and it keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day.Actos (Pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic drug. It improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
LevemirActos
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
LevemirActos
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for
LevemirActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
LevemirActos
  • Insulin dose too high
  • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
  • Poor injection techniques
  • Unstable kidney functions
  • Unstable liver functions
Detailed Levemir (insulin detemir) risks & warnings »
  • Heart failure diagnosis
  • Current liver problems
  • Female
Detailed Actos (pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Kidneys and liver
LevemirActos
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Weight
LevemirActos
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
  • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
Upsides and benefits
LevemirActos
  • Insulin is the most effective blood sugar-lowering medicine. When used correctly, it'll lower blood sugar every time you use it and prevent the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Levemir is a long-lasting insulin that provides consistent, all-day sugar control with less risk of low blood sugar.
  • Dose can be easily adjusted to make a customized regimen that's tailored to your body.
  • Starting insulin early in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can maintain your body's insulin-producing cells and slow down disease progression.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
  • Lowers A1c levels by around 1%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
  • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
Downsides and risks
LevemirActos
  • You have to take insulin by injection.
  • You have to check your blood sugar every day.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Higher risk of low blood sugar episodes than other kinds of diabetes medicines.
  • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
  • You have to check your blood sugar regularly with this medicine.
  • Has more side effects than similar medicines, so it's usually not the first choice for new Type 2 diabetes patients.
  • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Up to 1 in 10 people might get fluid retention (edema), ranging from mild ankle swelling to severe swelling in the lungs that makes it hard to breathe. People with severe congestive heart failure shouldn't use Actos.
  • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
  • Slightly raises the risk of bladder cancer.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
LevemirActos
  • Long-acting insulin good for baseline blood sugar control.
  • Works in 1 hour and lasts about 24 hours.
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, nervousness, headache, blurry vision, trouble thinking clearly, or passing out.
  • Always have a good source of sugar nearby for low blood sugar episodes.
  • Take it at the same time every day.
  • Make sure you understand how to give yourself the injections.
  • Don't shake the vial or mix with another insulin. Store unopened vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials are good at room temperature for 28 days.
  • Check your blood sugar levels every day.
  • Takes several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
  • Tell your doctor about any mental confusion, persistent abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising.
  • Not recommended for patients with certain heart problems.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly.
Learn more
More about LevemirSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it