GENERIC NAME: Pioglitazone

COMMON BRANDS: Actos, Gliozac

Pioglitazone an oral tablet is a useful prescription medicine to control blood sugar in type II Diabetes Mellitus patients. It is used along with a controlled diet and regular workout. This drug may be used in combination with other diabetes medicines for effective control.

What is Pioglitazone used for?

Pioglitazone is a diabetes drug (thiazolidinedione-class, also called “glitazones”) used along with a proper diet and exercise regimen to control high blood glucose level in patients having type 2 diabetes. It works by restoring the body’s response to insulin, thereby reducing your blood glucose level.

Controlling high blood glucose helps stop kidney damage, blindness, loss of limbs, nerve problems, and sexual dysfunction. Proper control of diabetes may also reduce your risk of a heart attack/stroke.

Pioglitazone is taken either alone or in combination with other diabetes medications (like metformin or a sulfonylurea such as glyburide).

How to use Pioglitazone?

Read the Medication Guide offered by your pharmacist before you start using pioglitazone and each time you get a refill. If you have any inquiries, ask your physician or pharmacist.

Take this medication orally with or without meals as directed by your physician, usually once a day. Dosage is based upon your medical diagnosis, treatment response, and if you are using other diabetes drugs. Your doctor will alter your dose based on your blood sugar level to find the best dose that suits you. Follow your physician’s directions correctly.

Take this medicine regularly to benefit the most from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day.

If you are already using another diabetes medication like metformin or a sulfonylurea, follow your doctor’s directions carefully for stopping/continuing the old medication and starting this medication. Precisely follow the medication treatment regimen, meal plan, and exercise schedule your doctor has recommended.

Check your blood sugar level regularly as advised by your physician. Keep track of the results, and tell them to your doctor. Inform your physician if your blood sugar level measurements are too high or too low, your dosage or treatment may have to be changed. It may require 2 to 3 months before you notice the full benefit of this drug is noticeable.

What are the side effects of Pioglitazone?

A sore throat, muscle ache, weight gain, or tooth difficulties may occur. If any of the above problems continue or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this drug because you have found that the benefits to you are more than the consequences of its side effects. Most people using this drug do not have severe side effects.

Inform your doctor at the earliest if you have any major side effects, such as vision problems (blurring of vision), osteoporosis, reddish-color urine, urge to urinate immediately, painful urination.

Pioglitazone may barely cause liver disease. Tell your doctor immediately if you begin symptoms of liver disease, including dark urine color, yellowing of eyes or skin, persistent nausea or vomiting, stomach or abdominal ache.

Pioglitazone does not typically cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this medication is used along with other diabetes medications (for example insulin or sulfonylurea). Low blood sugar is common for people who drink large quantities of alcohol, doing extraordinarily heavy exercise, or do not absorb enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar level, eat meals on a regular time, and do not miss food. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to know what you should do if you skip food.

Symptoms of low blood sugar involve unexpected sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, increase in appetite, blurred vision, dizziness, and tingling limbs. It is better to carry glucose powder or candy to manage low blood sugar. If you do not have these safe forms of glucose, quickly increase your blood glucose by consuming a quick source of sugar such as sugar, honey, candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your physician immediately about the effect and the use of this product.

Symptoms of high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, drowsiness, confusion, flushing, fast breathing, or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your physician right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.

A severe allergic reaction to this medication is uncommon. However, seek medical help right away if you see any of the following symptoms of a severe allergic reaction: rashes, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, difficulty in breathing.

The above list does not include all side effects. If you see other effects not listed above, contact your physician or pharmacist.

What are the precautions while using Pioglitazone?

Before taking pioglitazone, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have some other kind of allergies. This product may consist some inactive ingredients, which has the potential to cause allergy or other problems. Ask your pharmacist for more information.

Before using this medicine, tell your physician or pharmacist your medical history, especially if you have heart disease (for example congestive heart failure, chest pain), fluid in your lungs, swelling (oedema), anemia, liver disease, bladder cancer and some eye problem like macular oedema.

You may experience dizziness, or drowsiness blurred vision due to extremely high or low blood sugar level. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision unless you are sure about performing such operations safely.

Reduce the consumption of alcohol while taking this medication because it can increase the chance of causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

It may be tough to control your blood sugar if your body is stressed (such as due to infection, fever, injury, or surgery). Consult your physician because higher stress may require a change in your treatment program, medications, or blood sugar monitoring.

Before having any surgery, inform your doctor about all the products you are using (including prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, and herbal products).

Pioglitazone may raise the risk of bone fracture in women (especially in the upper arm, hand, or foot).

Pioglitazone can cause alterations in the menstrual cycle (promotes ovulation) and increase the risk of pregnancy. Consult your physician or pharmacist about the use of proper birth control method while using this medication.

This medication could be used if only needed during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor regarding risks and benefits. Your physician may substitute insulin for this drug during your pregnancy. Follow all the instructions carefully.

There is no information whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the drug interactions of Pioglitazone?

Drug interactions may alter how your prescriptions work or raise your risk of severe side effects. Keep a record of every medication you use including prescription/nonprescription medication and herbal products and inform your physician and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or alter the dose of any medicines without your physician’s consent.

Other medications can alter the removal of pioglitazone from your body, which may modify how pioglitazone acts. Some of the examples include gemfibrozil, rifamycins including rifampin, among others.

Beta-blocker medications (For example propranolol, metoprolol, glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may limit the fast/pounding heartbeat you would typically feel when your blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia). Additional symptoms of low blood sugar level, such as hunger, dizziness, or sweating are unaffected by these medications.

Several drugs can alter your blood sugar, making it difficult to control. Before you begin, end, or change any medication, ask your physician or pharmacist about how the drug may influence your blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar frequently as directed and inform about the results to the doctor. Notify your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high or low blood sugar. Your physician may need to alter your diabetes medication, exercise schedule, or diet. (See also Side Effects section).


Pioglitazone may sometimes cause or worsen certain heart problem (heart failure). Do not use this medication unless you are prescribed by the doctor and make sure to inform about your medical history if you have any heart problems. If you are using this drug, observe for signs and symptoms of heart failure, such as shallow breathing, sudden weight gain, or swelling of any part of the body, stop this drug and seek medical advice immediately if any of these symptoms appear.

What are the forms and strengths of Pioglitazone?

Form: Tablet.
Strength: 15mg, 30mg, 45mg

What is the dosage of Pioglitazone?

For Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus:


Pioglitazone is used as monotherapy or with insulin or insulin secretagogues 15-30mg orally with meals, every day at the beginning of treatment, and then increase dose by 15 mg with careful monitoring, and then increase the dose up to a maximum of 45mg every day. Monitor ALT at the beginning of treatment, every month for 12 months, and then every three months.

Dosage Modification:

Coadministration with an insulin secretagogue (for example sulfonylurea):

Reduce insulin secretagogue dose.

Coadministration with insulin:

Reduce insulin dose by 10-25%.

Coadministration with strong CYP2C8 inhibitors (for example gemfibrozil):

Limit maximum pioglitazone dose to 15 mg every day.


Children: Not recommended.

Most common questions asked about Pioglitazone / Q&A:

When should Pioglitazone be taken?

Pioglitazone can be taken with or without food. It is usually taken once a day. YouYour blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor’s office.


TheMedPharma has made every effort to make sure that all the information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this website should not be considered as a substitute for the advice, knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or licensed health care professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subjected to changes if required. The lack of warnings or other information for a given drug does not mean that the drug or its combination is safe, effective or appropriate for use in all patients.