Generic Name: pioglitazone

Brand Name: Actos

Manufacturer: Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Drug Functionality:

Indicated as a treatment, in conjunction with diet and exercise, for Type 2 diabetic patients not dependent on insulin, Actos is an oral medication taken one daily with or without food.  Belonging to a family of drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZD), Actos is an antihyperglycemic agent; it helps the body respond better to insulin and reduces the amount of sugar production in the liver.

Dosage:

Dosage should be followed as per the prescription and any alterations to the medication should be done only under medical supervision. Normally,

  • The dosage for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes is 15mg to 30mg once a day. However if it doesn’t bring the sugar level down to the permissible limits, then the dose might be adjusted to 45mg per day.
  • It should be taken once during the day, preferably at the same time each day.
  • Since it is meant to bring down the sugar levels in blood, constant blood sugar monitoring needs to be done.

Precautions:

Diabetic patients who also suffer from any of the following conditions should consult with the doctor before taking this medicine:

  1. Allergies to the salt pioglitazone.
  2. Any kind of heart ailments like heart attack or stroke.
  3. Any liver related problems.
  4. Any lung related disorders like fluid retention.
  5. Swelling anywhere in the body.
  6. Anemia.
  7. Macular edema i.e. a specific eye problem.

Other than this, the patients who have been prescribed this medicine should keep a check on the following:

  1. Bladder Cancer- Actos has been linked to all types of bladder cancer.  The symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine (which may be visible to the eye or visible only through a microscopic examination), frequent urination, or painful urination.  Although the vast majority of bladder cancer cases start in the innermost lining of the bladder (known as transitional cell carcinoma), Actos has been linked to all types of bladder cancer.
  1. Hypoglycemia- diabetic patients can sometimes suffer from low blood sugar also known as hypoglycemia. The symptoms of this are headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremor, irritability, or trouble concentrating. This can be caused due to:
    1. Skipped meals
    2. Alcohol consumption
    3. Stress or
    4. Long duration workouts.

During hypoglycemia, a person may suffer from blurred vision, dizziness or drowsiness. Hence, it is always recommended to keep some sweet candies or biscuits handy, so that if hypoglycemia occurs at any time, these high sugar level items can be consumed instantly, to bring the sugar level up. While suffering from hypoglycemia, one should avoid driving, operating heavy machinery or any kind of activity that requires alertness or clear vision.

  1. Women who have started with Actos have reported cases of resuming menstruation cycles which otherwise had stopped long ago. Not only this, there have been cases where women have got pregnant owing to the re- start of their menstruation cycles.
  2. Women also have reported bone fractures in arms, hands or feet while consuming Actos, more than men who are prescribed the drug. Frequent visits to doctor and undergoing regular medical check-ups are always recommended for diabetic patients.