Actos

Generic Name: Pioglitazone

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Actos is a medicine used along with diet and exercise to help control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Actos helps your body respond better to the insulin it makes naturally, thereby helping to control your blood sugar.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Lowering your blood sugar to a normal level may prevent or delay potential complications associated with diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, or heart problems.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Actos exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood sugar regularly and as per your healthcare provider's recommendations. Your healthcare provider will also do regular blood tests to measure your blood sugar levels and your hemoglobin A1C (which estimates your average blood sugar levels over a 2- to 3-month period). Stay on your prescribed diet and exercise program, as this will also affect the results of your blood tests.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Actos can cause your body to retain extra fluid, which leads to swelling and weight gain. Extra body fluid can make some heart problems worse or lead to heart failure. Call your healthcare provider right away if you experience swelling or fluid retention, especially in your ankles or legs; shortness of breath or trouble breathing, especially when you lie down; unusually fast increase in your weight; or unusual tiredness.

    More common side effects may include: upper respiratory infection, headache, sinus infection, muscle pain, sore throat.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Liver problems with symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, or yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

    Bone fractures, usually in the hand, upper arm, or foot.

    Increased risk of bladder cancer with symptoms such as blood or a red color in your urine, an increased need to urinate, or pain while you urinate.

    Low blood sugar with symptoms such as shaking, sweating, rapid heartbeat, changes in your vision, hunger, headache, or changes in your mood. Your risk of low blood sugar is higher if you do not eat enough, drink alcohol, or take other medicines to lower your blood sugar.

    Macular edema (swelling in the back of the eye) with changes in your vision.

    Ovulation (release of an egg from an ovary in a woman) leading to pregnancy.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Actos if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Actos if you have heart failure.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Actos. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver or heart problems; macular edema; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 15 or 30 milligrams once a day.

    Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    If you are also using insulin or taking another diabetes medicine called a sulfonylurea (such as glimepiride, glipizide, or glyburide), your healthcare provider may adjust the dose of these medicines.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Actos exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

    Take Actos with or without food.

    If your body is under some types of stress (such as a fever, infection, trauma [such as a car accident], or surgery), your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medicine.

    While you are taking Actos, stay on your diet and exercise program, and check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not change your dose or stop taking Actos without first talking to your healthcare provider.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Actos is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Actos with the following: gemfibrozil or rifampin.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Actos during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Actos. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Actos, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from light, moisture, and humidity.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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