Pioglitazone is a diabetes drug (thiazolidinedione-type, also called "glitazones") used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It works by helping to restore your body's proper response to insulin, thereby lowering your blood sugar.
Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Pioglitazone is used either alone or in combination with other diabetes medications (such as metformin or a sulfonylurea such as glyburide).
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of pioglitazone.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using pioglitazone and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and if you are taking other diabetes drugs. Your doctor will adjust your dose based on your blood sugar to find the best dose for you. Follow your doctor's directions carefully.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day.
If you are already taking another diabetes drug (such as metformin or a sulfonylurea), follow your doctor's directions carefully for stopping/continuing the old drug and starting this medication. Carefully follow the medication treatment plan, meal plan, and exercise program your doctor has recommended.
Check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your doctor. Keep track of the results, and share them with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your blood sugar measurements are too high or too low. Your dosage/treatment may need to be changed. It may take up to 2 to 3 months before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
Before taking pioglitazone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart disease (such as congestive heart failure, chest pain), liver disease, fluid in your lungs, swelling (edema), anemia, a certain eye problem (macular edema), bladder cancer.
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while taking this medication because it can increase the risk of developing low blood sugar.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because increased stress may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Pioglitazone may increase the risk of bone fracture in women (usually in the upper arm, hand, or foot).
Pioglitazone can cause changes in the menstrual cycle (promote ovulation) and increase the risk of becoming pregnant. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable birth control while using this medication.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Your doctor may substitute insulin for this drug during your pregnancy. Follow all instructions carefully.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Sore throat, muscle pain, weight gain, or tooth problems may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: new/worsening vision problems (such as blurred vision), bone fracture, reddish-colored urine, urgent need to urinate, pain while urinating.
Pioglitazone may rarely cause liver disease. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver disease, including: dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain.
Pioglitazone does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications (such as insulin or a sulfonylurea). Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at the same time each day. Do not take more often than directed.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You may need regular tests to make sure your liver is working properly.
A test called the HbA1C (A1C) will be monitored. This is a simple blood test. It measures your blood sugar control over the last 2 to 3 months. You will receive this test every 3 to 6 months.
Learn how to check your blood sugar. Learn the symptoms of low and high blood sugar and how to manage them.
Always carry a quick-source of sugar with you in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Examples include hard sugar candy or glucose tablets. Make sure others know that you can choke if you eat or drink when you develop serious symptoms of low blood sugar, such as seizures or unconsciousness. They must get medical help at once.
Tell your doctor or health care professional if you have high blood sugar. You might need to change the dose of your medicine. If you are sick or exercising more than usual, you might need to change the dose of your medicine.
Do not skip meals. Ask your doctor or health care professional if you should avoid alcohol. Many nonprescription cough and cold products contain sugar or alcohol. These can affect blood sugar.
This medicine may increase your risk of having certain heart problems. Get medical help right away if you have any chest pain or tightness, or pain that radiates to the jaw or down the arm, and shortness of breath. These may be signs of a serious medical condition.
This medicine may cause ovulation in premenopausal women who do not have regular monthly periods. This may increase your chances of becoming pregnant. You should not take this medicine if you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Talk with your doctor or health care professional about your birth control options while taking this medicine. Contact your doctor or health care professional right away if think you are pregnant.
Wear a medical ID bracelet or chain, and carry a card that describes your disease and details of your medicine and dosage times.