Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Actos

(Pioglitazone)

  • Pill
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Lowers blood sugar.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Actos (Pioglitazone) is a last-choice blood sugar-lowering medicine since it's only moderately effective but has a lot of undesirable side effects.

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  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Actos (Pioglitazone)

From clinical trials of Actos / Type 2 diabetes ( 5238)

  • Swelling due to excess fluidSwelling due to excess fluid27% for Actos vs.16% for placebo
  • Low blood sugarLow blood sugar27% for Actos vs.19% for placebo
  • Swelling due to excess fluidSwelling due to excess fluid27% for Actos vs.15% for placebo
  • Ear, nose, or throat infectionEar, nose, or throat infection13% for Actos vs.9% for placebo
  • HeadacheHeadache9% for Actos vs.7% for placebo
  • Cardiac failureCardiac failure8% for Actos vs.6% for placebo
  • Back painBack pain6% for Actos vs.5% for placebo
  • Sinus inflammationSinus inflammation6% for Actos vs.5% for placebo
  • Pain in extremityPain in extremity6% for Actos vs.6% for placebo
  • Muscle painMuscle pain5% for Actos vs.3% for placebo

What to expect when you take Actos (Pioglitazone) for Improves blood sugar levels

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Actos (Pioglitazone)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Heart failure diagnosis

    Actos (Pioglitazone) can cause too much fluid buildup in your body, which can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Your doctor should follow your blood tests and weight closely when you start Actos (Pioglitazone) or increase your dose. People with heart failure classification NYHA Class III/IV shouldn't use Actos (Pioglitazone).

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Actos (Pioglitazone)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Weight gain or loss
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • Actos (Pioglitazone) can cause too much fluid buildup in your body, which can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Your doctor should follow your blood tests and weight closely when you start Actos (Pioglitazone) or increase your dose. People with heart failure classification NYHA Class III/IV shouldn't use Actos (Pioglitazone).
  • Actos (Pioglitazone) may increase fluid buildup in your body, called edema. The risk increases with a higher dose. Tell your doctor about any unexpected weight gain, swelling of extremities, or trouble breathing.
  • Look out for overeating - Actos users tend to gain weight if they are not careful. Take it every evening before bedtime.
    Taken for: Type 2 diabetes
    Duration taken: Two years or more
  • Had weight gain without changing eating habits nor exercise habits
    Age: 68
    Gender: Woman