Actos

Actos (pioglitazone) is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. TZDs help your body respond better to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels.

Actos is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is not for use in type 1 diabetes.

Actos is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. Brand-name Actos is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Brand-name Actos is also available in a combination drug with metformin (Actoplus Met).

Important warnings

Heart failure warning: Taking Actos can cause or worsen heart failure. Your risk is higher if you have heart failure or a heart condition called congestive heart failure (CHF).

If you take Actos and have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. If you develop new or worsening symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, your doctor may tell you to stop taking Actos.

Fluid retention warning: Taking Actos can cause your body to hold on to extra fluid. This can lead to or worsen heart failure.

If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely while you take Actos. They may tell you to stop taking the drug if you develop new or worsening symptoms of heart failure.

Liver damage warning: Taking Actos can cause liver damage. Your risk is higher if you have diabetes, are overweight, or drink alcohol.

If you take Actos and have diabetes, your doctor will monitor your liver function closely. If you develop new or worsening liver problems, your doctor may tell you to stop taking Actos.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Actos if you are allergic to pioglitazone or any other drugs in the TZD class.

To make sure Actos is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes (your blood sugar is too high);
  • heart disease or congestive heart failure;
  • a history of heart attack or stroke;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • swelling or fluid retention;
  • bladder cancer; or
  • if you drink alcohol regularly.

Actos may cause heart failure. This is more likely to occur in women, older adults, or people with congestive heart failure or other heart conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions.

If you have diabetes, you should know that Actos may make your blood sugar level drop too low. If your blood sugar gets too low, you may have symptoms such as feeling dizzy, shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, hunger, or blurred vision. Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink alcohol, miss a meal, exercise hard, or take certain diabetes medications (such as sulfonylureas or insulin).

Actos may also cause weight gain. Women are more likely to experience weight gain than men.

Actos may harm an unborn baby. If you are a woman of childbearing age, tell your doctor if you become pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while taking Actos.

How should I take Actos?

Take Actos exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Actos is usually taken once daily with breakfast or the first main meal of the day. Follow your doctor's instructions about how often to take Actos and when to take your doses.

You may need to take Actos on a long-term basis for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Your blood sugar will need to be checked often. You may need other blood tests at your doctor's office.

If you take Actos with insulin or other diabetes medications, your blood sugar could get too low. Low blood sugar can occur if you skip a meal, exercise too long, drink alcohol, or are under stress.

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.

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

Warnings

You should not use Actos if you are allergic to pioglitazone or any other drugs in the TZD class.

To make sure Actos is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes (your blood sugar is too high);
  • heart disease or congestive heart failure;
  • a history of heart attack or stroke;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • swelling or fluid retention;
  • bladder cancer; or
  • if you drink alcohol regularly.

Actos may cause heart failure.

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