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What is Actos?


Actos« (pioglitazone) is a medication used to treat people with Type 2 Diabetes by making the body more sensitive to insulin and controlling blood sugar. It belongs to the same class of medicines as Avandia« (rosiglitazone). Actos« helps control blood sugar whether it's used alone or with other diabetes drugs. It can lower hemoglobin A1C (one measure of blood glucose control) by 1 to 2.5 percent when used alone. When used with other diabetes drugs, it can lower hemoglobin A1C an additional 1 percent. Combining Actos« and drugs in the sulfonylurea class such as glyburide or glipizide, metformin or insulin has proven effective. These drugs work by increasing the release of insulin from the pancreas. Since this differs from the way Actos« works, these medicines may work well together. You can take Actos« once a day, with or without food.

Actos« SidesEffects

The most common side effects of Actos« are headache, muscle pain, respiratory infection and sinusitis. It can also cause swelling of the legs and ankles as well as low blood sugars, when used in combination with insulin. Actos« can also cause ovulating in premenopausal women who haven't been ovulating, increasing the chance of pregnancy.

Similarities to Rezulin« and potential for liver damage

A similar medicine that has already been taken off the market, Rezulin« (troglitazone), has caused liver failure in some people. According to medical research, Actos« itself does not have any liver problems associated with it. But because Rezulin's chemical structure is similar to Actos«, you should have your blood tested for early signs of liver damage before taking Actos«. These blood tests should take place before you take Actos« as well as every two months for the first year and periodically after that. Early symptoms of liver damage include stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, tiredness, dark urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin). If you have any of these symptoms, you need to contact your doctor.

Do not take Actos« if you have Type 1 Diabetes as it is made only for people with Type 2 Diabetes. You should also not take Actos« if you have liver disease or severe heart failure.

Find comprehensive information in our Diabetes Center.

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