What is Actos?

Actos is an oral medicine that helps control blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetic patients. Type 2 diabetes is considered non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

Pioglitazone, the active ingredient in Actos, is sometimes used in combination with insulin or other medications, but it is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

Important Information

Below are a number of key points you should consider before taking Actos. As with all prescription drugs, consult a medical professional prior to starting to take Actos.

Before taking Actos, tell your doctor if you have one of the following pre-conditions—congestive heart failure or heart disease, fluid retention, a history of heart attack or stroke, or liver disease.Any of these conditions can be complicated by Actos.

The active ingredient in Actos is pioglitazone. If you have a known allergy to pioglitazone, you should not use Actos.

If you have severe heart failure or are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis you should not take Actos.

Regardless of any medicinal regiment involving Actos, you should always take care not to let your blood sugar get too low. Low blood sugar, otherwise known as hypoglycemia, can occur if you skip a meal, exercise too long, drink alcohol, or are under stress. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, or trouble concentrating. It is often recommended that diabetics carry hard candy or glucose tablets in case of low blood suger. Other sugar sources include orange juice and milk.

Actos has been shown to cause some women to start having menstrual activity after starting an Actos regimen even if not having had such activity for a long time (due to medical conditions). This may require birth control as pregnancy can occur when menstrual activity resumes. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor about the need for birth control.

Women may also be more likely than men to have bone fractures in the upper arm, hand, or foot while taking Actos. Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about this possibility.

Certain oral diabetes medications, like Actos, may increase your risk of serious heart problems. Unfortunately, not treating your diabetes properly can damage the heart as well as other organs. Your doctor will have more information on the risks and benefits of Actors and other oral diabetes medicines.

What should I know before taking Actos?

Below are guidelines you should follow when taking Actos:

Take Actos exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Actos is usually taken once daily with or without food.

Diabetes is a condition that needs to be properly managed. One such method is through blood sugar analysis. This can be checked frequently using many of the over-the-counter blood-sugar analysis devices. But you may need other blood tests as well. Visit your doctor regularly while on Actos as part of your diabetes management activities.

Know the signs of low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, and how to recognize them: headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremor, irritability, or trouble concentrating.

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of hypoglycemia. These sugar sources can include hard candy, glucose gel, milk, and orange juice. In the event that you do not catch the signs of hypoglycemia and get to a point where you cannot eat or drink, you can use an injection of glucagen, a highly concentrated form of glucose designed to rapidly increase your blood sugar. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.

There are many things that can impact your blood sugar levels including stress, illness, travel, exercise, alcohol, and skipping meals. You should check your blood sugar regularly.

Ask your doctor how to adjust your Actos dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor’s advice.

Don’t wait until your Actos prescription runs out to refill. In order to get the most benefit from Actos, use it regularly. Filling your prescription before it runs out will ensure you don’t miss a dose.

Actos is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.

Store Actos at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.


The active ingredient in Actos is pioglitazone hydrochloride. Actos is an oral anti-diabetic agent that acts primarily by decreasing insulin resistance. It is part of a group of diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones.


Side effects of Actos

  • gradual weight gain;
  • headache;
  • sneezing, runny nose, cough or other signs of a cold;
  • muscle pain; or
  • tooth problems.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will Actos cure my diabetes?

No. There is no cure for diabetes. Actos is simply one part of a diabetes-management strategy to help diabetics better cope with this illness.

What’s in Actos

The primary ingredient in Actos is pioglitazone hydrochloride, which is part of a group of diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones.

How does Actos work?

The body generally digests foods into products and compounds that it can use to fuel necessary systems such as muscular, nervous, and limbic. One of the common by-products of digestion is glucose, the main source of energy for the body. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is required to enable the body’s cells to utilize glucose to generate energy.

For people with type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce some insulin, but not sufficient for normal day-to-day operation. Moreover, in this type of diabetes, the cells have become resistant to the effects of insulin—they cannot properly utilize the glucose being produced from digestion and it builds-up in the bloodstream. This condition is called insulin resistance. In this situation, the body tells the pancreas to produce more insulin in an attempt to overcome the resistance and utilize the glucose present in the blood. The extra insulin releases the cells and forces them to take the glucose from the bloodstream but at a cost—the pancreas can not keep up with the insulin requirements leading to a high concentration of glucose in the blood which can damage the liver and other organs.

Actos is used to reduce insulin resistance thereby decreasing the amount of insulin that the pancreas needs to produce to normal levels. Actos, along with healthy eating and physical activity, works by helping the body use it’s naturally produced insulin (or, in the case of type 2 diabetes, administered insulin), to convert the glucose to energy and reduce the potentially harmful buildup of glucose.

Are there any drugs I can’t take in combination with Actos?

You should discuss any drugs you are currently taking with your doctor before beginning a treatment with Actos. Some drugs include vancomycin (Vancocin, Lyphocin), gemfibrozil (Lopid), bosentan (Tracleer), digoxin (Lanoxin), procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl, Procanbid), quinidine (Quin-G), or quinine (Qualaquin), delavirdine (Rescriptor), midazolam (Versed), morphine (MS Contin, Kadian, Oramorph), tolbutamide (Orinase), trimethoprim (Proloprim, Primsol, Bactrim, Cotrim, Septra), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate) or rifapentine (Priftin), amiloride (Midamor), furosemide (Lasix), or triamterene (Dyrenium), cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), fluconazole (Diflucan) or ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegal), nicardipine (Cardene) or nifedipine (Nifedical, Procardia), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as flurbiprofen (Ansaid), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), mefenamic acid (Ponstel), or piroxicam (Feldene), orseizure medication such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretal), phenytoin (Dilantin), phenobarbital (Solfoton), primidone (Mysoline), and others.

Can Actos cause an allergic reactions? If so, what are the signs?

You should seek immediate, emergency medical help if you experience any of the following allergic reactions including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

What happens if I miss a dose of Actos?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up any missed doses.