©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

pioglitazone (oral) (Actos)

Brand Names: Actos

Generic Name: pioglitazone (oral)

What is pioglitazone (Actos)?

Pioglitazone is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pioglitazone is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

Pioglitazone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of pioglitazone (Actos)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using pioglitazone and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of liver damage: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • shortness of breath (especially when lying down), unusual tiredness, swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • pink or red urine, painful or difficult urination, new or worsening urge to urinate;
  • changes in your vision; or
  • sudden unusual pain in your hand, arm, or foot.

Some people taking this medicine have had bladder cancer, but it is not clear if pioglitazone was the actual cause.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about pioglitazone (Actos)?

Pioglitazone can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. You should not use this medicine if you have severe or uncontrolled heart failure.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have shortness of breath (especially when lying down), unusual tiredness, swelling, or rapid weight gain.

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

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to pioglitazone, or if you have:

This medication may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Pioglitazone may increase your risk of serious heart problems, but not treating your diabetes can also damage your heart and other organs. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medicine.

Follow your doctor's instructions about using this medicine if you are pregnant. Blood sugar control is very important during pregnancy, and your dose needs may be different during each trimester.

Pioglitazone may stimulate ovulation in a premenopausal woman and may increase the risk of unintended pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

Women may be more likely to have a broken bone while using pioglitazone. Talk with your doctor about ways to keep your bones healthy.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Pioglitazone is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take pioglitazone (Actos)?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Pioglitazone is usually taken once daily, with or without food.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, and feeling shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.

Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.

Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.

Pioglitazone is only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose (Actos)?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose (Actos)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. You may have signs of low blood sugar, such as extreme weakness, blurred vision, sweating, trouble speaking, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, and seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking pioglitazone (Actos)?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.

What other drugs will affect pioglitazone (Actos)?

Tell your doctor if you use insulin. Taking pioglitazone while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.

Many drugs can affect pioglitazone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information (Actos)?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about pioglitazone.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 12/19/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors