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What is this medication? 

Pioglitazone, Actos
Antidiabetic Agent; Thiazolidinedione

Pioglitazone, Actos is indicated for management of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

“ALERT: US Boxed Warning

Congestive heart failure:
Thiazolidinediones, including pioglitazone, can cause or exacerbate congestive heart failure (CHF) in some patients. After initiation of pioglitazone, and after dose increases, observe patients carefully for signs and symptoms of heart failure (including excessive, rapid weight gain, dyspnea, and/or edema). If these signs and symptoms develop, manage the heart failure according to the current standards of care. Furthermore, discontinuation or dose reduction of pioglitazone must be considered.

Pioglitazone is not recommended in patients with symptomatic heart failure. Initiation of pioglitazone in patients with established New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV heart failure is contraindicated.”

How does this medication work? 

Pioglitazone, Actos is a thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agent that lowers blood glucose by improving insulin sensitivity without increasing pancreatic insulin secretion, however its mechanism is dependent on the presence of insulin for activity.  It is a potent and selective agonist for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma). Activation of PPARgamma receptors in the cell nucleus influences the production of a proteins involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. PPARgamma is abundant in the cells within the renal collecting tubules and fluid retention results from stimulation by thiazolidinediones which increases sodium reabsorption.

How should I take this medication? 

Oral: 15 to 45 mg once daily.

How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same time each day with or without food unless otherwise directed, store at room temperature.

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Before starting Pioglitazone, Actos make sure your physician is aware of any allergies, medications you currently take, if you have heart failure, liver disease, bladder cancer, if you have had bariatric surgery, have diabetes mellitus type 1, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.  Pioglitazone use has been associated with rare but serious adverse events including bladder cancer, edema, increased risk of fractures, cardiac effects, hematologic effects, hepatotoxicity, hypoglycemia, macular edema, and weight gain.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication? 

Edema, hypoglycemia, respiratory tract infection, heart failure exacerbation, headache

Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only common ones.