Drug Class: What is Actos and why is it prescribed?
Actos Mechanism: How does Actos work?
Actos Dosage: How should you take this medication?
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Actos
Special information on Actos
Possible side effects of Actos
|Drug Class: What is Actos and why is it prescribed?|
|Actos is Pioglitazone and is used to control high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. This form of the illness usually stems from the body s inability to make good use of insulin, the natural hormone that helps to transfer sugar out of the blood and into the cells, where it s converted to energy. Actos works by improving the body s response to its natural supply of insulin, rather than increasing its insulin output. Actos also reduces the production of unneeded sugar in the liver. Actos (and the similar drug Avandia) can be used alone or in combination with insulin injections or other oral diabetes medications such as DiaBeta, Micronase, Glucotrol, or Glucophage.|
|Actos Mechanism: How does Actos work?|
|Actos (Pioglitazone) is a drug that reduces the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Actos is in a class of anti-diabetic drugs called thiazolidinediones that are used in the treatment of type II diabetes. The other member in this class is rosiglitazone (Avandia). (Another member of this class, troglitazone or Rezulin, was removed from the market because of liver toxicity.) Patients with type II diabetes cannot make enough insulin, and the cells of their body do not respond normally to the reduced amounts of insulin that are present. (Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that stimulates cells to remove glucose from the blood.) Actos (Pioglitazone) often is referred to as an insulin sensitizer because it attaches to the insulin receptors on cells throughout the body and causes the cells to become more sensitive (more responsive) to insulin. As a result, more glucose is removed from the blood. At least some insulin must be produced by the pancreas in order for Actos (pioglitazone) to work. Actos (Pioglitazone) also lowers the level of glucose in the blood by reducing the production and secretion of glucose into the blood by the liver. In addition, Actos may alter the blood concentrations of lipids (fats) in the blood. Specifically, it decreases triglycerides and increases the good (HDL) cholesterol. Actos received FDA approval on July 16, 1999.|
|Actos Dosage: How should you take this medication?|
|Actos should be taken once a day with or without meals. If you miss a Actos dose: Take it as soon as you remember. If you miss a Actos dose on one day, skip it and go back to your regular Actos medication schedule. Do not double your Actos the following day. Actos Storage instructions: Store at room temperature in a tight container, away from moisture and humidity. Actos Preparations: Tablets: 15, 30 and 45 mg.|
|Possible food and drug interactions when taking Actos|
|It is possible that Actos may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills containing ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. To guard against an unwanted pregnancy, be sure to use some other form of contraception. If Actos is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Actos with the following: Ketoconazole (Nizoral), Midazolam (Versed).|
|Special information on Actos|
|The effects of Actos during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. He may switch you to insulin during your pregnancy, since normal blood sugar levels are very important for the developing baby. It is not known whether Actos appears in breast milk. For safety s sake, do not use Actos doses while breastfeeding. In very rare cases, a drug similar to Actos has proven toxic to the liver. The manufacturer therefore recommends that your doctor check your liver function before you begin Actos, then every 2 months for the first year of therapy and periodically thereafter. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, or dark urine, report them to your doctor immediately. You will probably have to stop using Actos. Because Actos works by improving the body s response to its own supply of insulin, it is not for type 1 diabetics, who are unable to produce any insulin at all. For the same reason, Actos can t be used to treat the condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (excessively high sugar levels due to the lack of insulin). In rare instances, Actos causes swelling and fluid retention that can lead to congestive heart failure. If you already have this problem, you should avoid Actos. If you develop symptoms that signal the problem--such as shortness of breath, fatigue, or weight gain--you should check with your doctor immediately; the drug will probably have to be discontinued. The problem is more likely when Actos is taken in combination with insulin. Actos, by itself, will not cause excessively low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). However, when you combine Actos with insulin injections or Actos with oral diabetes drugs, the chance of hypoglycemia increases. If you begin to feel symptoms of hypoglycemia--shaking, sweating, agitation, clammy skin, or blurred vision--take some fast-acting sugar, such as 4 to 6 ounces of fruit juice. Let your doctor know about the incident; you may need a lower dose of insulin or oral medication. To make sure that your blood sugar levels stay within the normal range, get regular tests of your blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (a long-term measurement of blood sugar). Contact your doctor during periods of stress due to fever, infection, injury, surgery, and the like.Your dosage of diabetes medicines may need to be changed.|
|Possible side effects of Actos|
|Side effects of generic Actos cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Actos. More common side effects may include: Headache, hypoglycemia, muscle aches, respiratory tract infection, sinus inflammation, sore throat, swelling, tooth disorder. Less common side effects may include: Anemia, shortness of breath, weight gain.|
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