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pioglitazone (oral) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking pioglitazone (Actos)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to pioglitazone, if you have severe heart failure, if you have active bladder cancer, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).

To make sure you can safely take pioglitazone, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • congestive heart failure or heart disease;
  • fluid retention;
  • a history of bladder cancer;
  • a history of heart attack or stroke; or
  • liver disease.

Certain oral diabetes medications may increase your risk of serious heart problems. However, not treating your diabetes can damage your heart and other organs. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your diabetes with pioglitazone.

Some women using pioglitazone have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need for birth control.

Women may also be more likely than men to have bone fractures in the upper arm, hand, or foot while taking pioglitazone. Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about this possibility.

Do not take pioglitazone for longer than recommended. Taking this medication for longer than 1 year (12 months) may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether pioglitazone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether pioglitazone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not take pioglitazone without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take pioglitazone (Actos)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Pioglitazone is usually taken once daily. You may take the medicine with or without food.

Your blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them: headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, or trouble concentrating.

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.

Check your blood sugar carefully during a time of stress or illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your dose needs may also change.

Ask your doctor how to adjust your pioglitazone dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

Use pioglitazone regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Pioglitazone is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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From WebMD