Why is this medication prescribed?
Pioglitazone is used, alone or in combination with other medications, to treat type 2 diabetes in people whose diabetes cannot be controlled by diet and exercise alone. Pioglitazone is in a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones. It works by increasing your body's sensitivity to insulin, a substance your body produces to help control blood sugar levels.
How should this medicine be used?
Pioglitazone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once daily with or without meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pioglitazone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Pioglitazone controls type 2 diabetes but does not cure it. Continue to take pioglitazone even if you feel well. Do not stop taking pioglitazone without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking pioglitazone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, troglitazone, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially ketoconazole (Nizoral), oral contraceptives, other medications for type 2 diabetes, and vitamins or herbal products. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if your have ever taken troglitazone (Rezulin).
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart failure, liver disease (including cirrhosis and hepatitis), swollen ankles or feet (edema), high cholesterol, or a history of alcohol abuse.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking pioglitazone, call your doctor immediately.
- you should know that pioglitazone can restart ovulation in women taking oral contraceptives or those with polycystic ovary disease. You are at risk for pregnancy if adequate birth control is not used. You should discuss a reliable form of birth control with your doctor. If you are taking birth control pills, your doctor may choose to adjust your dose.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Pioglitazone should be taken with the same meals every day. Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. Calorie reduction, weight loss, and exercise will help control your diabetes and will also make pioglitazone work better. It is important to eat a healthy diet.
Alcohol increases blood sugar; ask your doctor for information on how much alcohol is safe to drink.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as your remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Pioglitazone does not usually cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used alone, but it may cause low blood sugar when used with other medications for diabetes. If you have any of the following symptoms, eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it, such as hard candy or fruit juice, and call your doctor immediately. Symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- rapid heartbeat
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling of the mouth
- pale color
- sudden hunger
If you have any of the following symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), call your doctor immediately:
- dry mouth
- dry skin
- frequent urination
- loss of appetite
- trouble breathing
Although side effects from pioglitazone are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- sinus or respiratory infection
- muscle pain
- tooth or mouth pain
- sore throat
- weight gain
- swelling of the ankles or feet
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
- rapid weight gain
- swelling of the ankles or feet that happens very quickly
- loss of consciousness
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
- excessive tiredness
- dark urine
- yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood sugar and glycosolated hemoglobin should be checked regularly to determine your response to pioglitazone.
Rare cases of liver injury and failure have occurred during therapy with troglitazone, a drug similar to pioglitazone. The potential risk of liver injury with pioglitazone is not known at this time. It is important that you keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests before and during your treatment to check your response to pioglitazone. You will have these tests before you begin to take pioglitazone, and then every 2 months for the first year of therapy. After the first year, these tests will be done less frequently.
Call your doctor during periods of stress, such as fever, trauma, infection, or prolonged illness. Your medications may need to be adjusted.
Pioglitazone may cause a slight decrease in red and white blood cells. Before you have any laboratory test, tell the laboratory personnel and your doctor that you take this medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.