Actos, known generically as pioglitazone, belongs to a class of medications called thiazolidinediones (TZD).  Long associated with fluid retention and new or worsening heart failure, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in September 2007, reported “serious heart failure is increased by pioglitazone.”  In the same year, after reviewing post-marketing adverse events reports, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “determined that an updated label with a boxed warning (the FDA’s strongest form of a warning) on the risks of heart failure was needed for the entire thiazolidinediones class of anitdiabetes drugs.”   In one trial, patients receiving Actos experienced “a serious heart failure event” and morbidity, or death, at a higher rate than those receiving a placebo, a drug containing no medication and given to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get better.

Heart failure is a condition that results in the heart’s inability to adequately satisfy the body’s requirements: the heart continues to work, but the body’s need for blood and oxygen is not fulfilled.  Gradually, the heart’s pump action becomes less and less powerful.  Then, blood fails to move efficiently through the circulatory system.  Eventually, the blood backs up and causes increased pressure in the blood vessels and forces fluid into body tissue. Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when various body parts fill with fluid—the body becomes “congested” with the accumulation of blood and fluid in the veins and lungs.

Two side effects of Actos that can signal the onset of heart failure or that can exacerbate heart failure already established are weight gain and edema.  Rapid weight gain, acquiring three to five pounds per week, generally is the result of fluid retention and often signals the onset of congestive heart failure.  When combined with insulin or other antidiabetes medications, weight gain up to nine pounds per week has even been recorded.

Edema, fluid retention and swelling in the extremities such as the legs, feet, arms, and hands, has a long- established link to heart failure.   An American Heart Associate informational flyer on heart failure warns, “edema that sometimes accompanies the use of a thiazolidinediones can be cause for concern, as it may be a harbinger or sign of congestive heart failure.”   Edema results when small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues.  Swollen extremities that “dimple” when pressed often signify edema.  Contact a doctor immediately if at any point you suspect you have developed edema.

Other Symptoms of Heart Failure:

  1. Chest Pain or Discomfort
  2. Heart Palpitations
  3. Lightheadedness or Dizziness
  4. Syncope (Fainting or Loss of Consciousness)
  5. Fatigue, Lethargy, or Daytime Sleepiness
  6. Shortness of Breath
  7. Increased Urination

If you are experiencing any signs of heart failure, call your doctor immediately. Any individual or the relative of an individual who has suffered due to Actos’ side effects is permitted to file a lawsuit. The lawyers can help you determine whether you are qualified to seek compensation. You may be eligible to seek reimbursement for medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and punitive damages (compensation granted for losses suffered).  If you need further information about the harmful side effects of Actos or legal advice concerning personal injury matters, we invite you to contact us or to fill out our form on this website for a free case evaluation.