Actos (Pioglitazone)(℞) Prescription Required
Actos (Pioglitazone) Dosage and Side Effects
Pioglitazone is an anti-diabetic 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 (non-insulin-dependent 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 anti-diabetic medications (such as metformin or a sulfonylurea such as glyburide). This medication should not be used to treat people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes). Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of pioglitazone.
Proper Use of this medication
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 anti-diabetic drugs. Your doctor will adjust your dose based on your blood sugar levels to find the best dose for you. Follow your doctor's directions carefully. The maximum recommended dose for pioglitazone is 45 milligrams each day. 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 anti-diabetic 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 persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she 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 either of these serious side effects occurs: new/worsening vision problems (such as blurred vision), bone fracture, reddish-colored urine, urgent need to urinate, pain while urinating. Pioglitazone may rarely cause liver disease. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver disease, including: dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain. Pioglitazone does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other anti-diabetic 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: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing. 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. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Warnings and Precautions
This medication may infrequently cause or worsen a certain heart problem (congestive heart failure). Tell your doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of heart failure, including: swelling of the hands/feet, unusual/sudden weight gain, trouble breathing, or unusual tiredness.
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: heart disease (such as congestive heart failure, chest pain), diabetic ketoacidosis, liver disease, fluid in your lungs, swelling (edema), anemia, a certain eye problem (macular edema), bladder cancer. You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar levels. 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. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. 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 breastfeeding.
Interactions with this medication
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. Many drugs can affect your blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control your blood sugar. 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 levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor about the results and of any symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See also Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your anti-diabetic medication, exercise program, or diet.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.