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What is Pioglitazone Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Pioglitazone Medication Used For and Its Side Effects?

Drugs for diabetes are a common form of treatment for individuals with diabetes. There are various types of diabetes medications or anti-diabetic drugs such as insulin and Pioglitazone, patients on this drug are at risk of its side effects. Each medicine is unique and works differently to manage blood sugar levels. Some work in a similar manner and are grouped in the same category of drugs. The method of administration is also different; some are taken orally while others are given through injections. Many diabetes drugs found in the market are designed to treat type II diabetes, perhaps because it’s the main common type of diabetes and affects people from the age of 40 years, although people at a younger age may be affected as well.

How Can You Know If the Diabetes Pills are Working?

The sure way to confirm the tablets are working is to test blood glucose frequently. Enquire from the medical care provider the best time of the day to test the glucose levels; it’s recommended to take the test when the medication you are taking is most active in the body. Remember to record the findings to share with the doctor during diabetes clinics and to know if the values are within the targeted range. If the levels are near the targeted range and you aren’t having issues with the medication, higher chances are it’s working well. If you are uncertain, contact the medical care provider or any member of the diabetes management team.

If it’s confirmed the drug is working and the blood glucose is under control, does it mean it is time to quit taking the medication? It’s reasonable to conclude that once the blood sugar levels are within the normal range, it is time to do away with the medicine as well as end the diabetes management; however, this isn’t so. Think of this, people with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce their own insulin; hence they depend on insulin shots every day. As for patients with type II diabetes and taking medicine(s), it is unclear if to continue with the medication or to stop taking them. When one is diagnosed with diabetes, the medical care provider prescribes diabetes tablets. If the patient puts effort to regulate blood glucose through diet and exercise, the need for the drugs is lowered, eventually, one may be able to stop taking the medication altogether. Provided the patient is able to maintain the blood sugar within the normal levels by engaging in physical activity and diet, there is no need for medicine for type II diabetes.

Nonetheless, type II diabetes is progressive, so it changes over time. The change may be slow or fast; this implies that if you are currently able to control blood sugar levels through a healthy lifestyle, it may be for some time, for years or even months. It will come a time when taking the medicines will be inevitable. If currently on medication to normalize blood glucose levels, you will continue taking the prescribed tablets, for example, Pioglitazone to lower the risk of heart disease and other complications associated with diabetes.

What is Pioglitazone?

As mentioned above, it’s used to manage type II diabetes together with diet and exercise. It falls under the category of a family of medicines known as thiazolidinediones. It is prescribed in overweight patients, those who have been on Metformin and the blood sugar levels are still high. It can be used alone or in combination therapy. But one should be watchful for Pioglitazone side effects. The drug helps in lowering blood glucose levels by increasing the sensitivity of your liver, fat and muscle cells to the actions of insulin hormone. Thus, the cells move glucose from the bloodstream in an effective way. Still, it lowers glucose secreted by the liver and protects the functioning of the beta cells responsible for insulin production.


Pioglitazone tablets are available in 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg strength. The initial dose for adults is 15 mg or 30 mg taken orally once daily. To sufficiently lower the blood glucose levels, the physician may increase the dose to 45 mg. The tablet can be taken with or without food. To avoid skipping the tablet, take the medicine at the same time daily. Bear in mind you have to follow the diet and exercise as advised.

Pioglitazone Side Effects

All drugs may cause side effects and Pioglitazone isn’t exceptional. The majority of the people has minor side effects or none at all. Check with the physician if the following common negative effects persist or become troublesome:

  • Flu-like symptoms like stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and cough 
  • Headache
  • Gradual weight gain 
  • Back pain 
  • Muscle pain

Who Shouldn’t Use This Drug?

Individuals with heart failure and edema – the medicine may make the body retain excess fluids causing swelling and weight gain, which can worsen heart problems or trigger heart failure. Hence don’t take it if you have severe heart failure. Patients on the medication will be monitored for signs of heart failure

  1. People with liver disease – the medicine may cause liver failure and must be avoided or used with caution if one has liver disease
  2. People with bladder cancer or a history of the same– if one is under treatment of bladder cancer; don’t take the drug, since it may make the condition worse. Furthermore, if you have a history of bladder cancer, consult the physician to decide of its safe for you to take it
  3. Patients with diabetic eye disease – if one has macular edema (swelling in the back of the eye) one should avoid taking the drug as it may worsen the condition
  4. Individuals with bone fractures –the medicine makes a patient more prone to bone fractures, especially women, thus used with caution
  5. Pregnant women – the drug is in category C according to the FDA listing, it should be avoided unless the expected benefits justifies the potential risks to the unborn baby
  6. Breastfeeding women– it’s unclear if the drug is passed through breast milk. You will decide together with the doctor if you can take the drug while breastfeeding or you have to stop breastfeeding
  7. People with existing allergies –the drug may cause a severe allergic reaction, thus it’s recommended for you to inform the medical care provider about this

In Conclusion

Contact the doctor if you become ill, have an infection, or due to a surgery. Pioglitazone may not control the blood glucose levels in these circumstances; you may have to stop taking the drug temporally and use insulin instead.

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