Actos Medication Information:

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Actos medication comes in several different strengths; click on the strength you need to view prices from pharmacies competing to earn your business.

Actos 15 mg
Actos 30 mg
Actos 45 mg

Actos General Information

Actos is a medication that is taken in pill form. This particular pill helps a diabetic to keep their glucose levels lower. It is generally prescribed to a diabetic with type 2 diabetes. With diabetes, there are two types of diabetics. With type 1, the person is usually dependent on insulin shots, as their pancreas does not work as it should to process insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed when people are young children. With type 2, the person is usually not dependent on insulin shots, as their pancreas does process insulin. Some people with type 2 will need to take a pill to help with the insulin processing, at times, while others may end up taking insulin later in life. Type 2 is usually diagnosed when people have reached their late teens, early adult years, or later adult years. When doctors run specific blood work, they can see what the glucose levels are. When glucose levels are high, this usually means that a person is type 2 diabetic. The blood work is always done after a person has been without food or fluids for at least twelve hours.

Other things that Actos has been known to assist with are lowering bad cholesterol levels and an increase in a female's fertility.

How does Actos work?

There are times when a diabetic's pancreas may stop working as it should. Actos helps the pancreas to process insulin, or carbohydrates. The medicine goes through the blood stream and to the pancreas. When insulin is processed properly, a diabetic's glucose levels will be lower. Actos was specifically made to assist people who have high glucose levels. This medication is in the form of a pill. Insulin is a natural hormone that we all have in our body. Some people produce a lot of this hormone and some people do not produce enough of it. This hormone, insulin, is what assists the body in having the right levels of glucose.

When and how is Actos taken?

If Actos is taken at night, after the last meal of the day, the body stands a better chance of having it work better for them. Most diabetics have higher glucose levels in the evening and when they first wake up, as they are not as active at night. If a person is more active in the morning or during the rest of the day, and they are more active at night, a doctor might recommend that they take the Actos during their least active times. Glucose levels usually will rise with less activity, as exercise is proven to help lower these levels. Some people cannot keep their levels lower even if they are active. With this medicine, there is a better chance of getting better glucose readings while taking it.

Most people take this medicine with food, as it can upset the stomach. Also, this medicine should be taken once a day, at the same time each day. There are pills cases one can get that have each day of the week on them. Some pill cases will even have sections for morning, noon, and evening.

Side Effects of Actos

As with most medications, Actos has some side effects. Some of these side effects can be mild, moderate, or severe. The side effects are generally mild ones, or ones that are not really noticeable. Some people may not have any side effects from this medicine. Some people may develop an upper respiratory irritation when they take this. Other side effects may be a mild headache or some sinus irritation. Other mild side effects can be a mild ache in the teeth, a mild ache in the muscles, a mild soreness of the throat, or some retention of water in the lower or upper extremities.

Other mild side effects might be slight stomach upset or a nauseous feeling, a difference in the color of urine, a feeling of being thirsty, easy bruising of the skin, and blurred vision.

One of the side effects that may be bothersome to some folks is the one that causes them to feel like their glucose is either high or low. Symptoms of these different ranges in glucose are almost similar to the other. Some symptoms of high sugar levels are a false feeling of hunger or thirst. Generally, if someone is really hungry and their sugar is low, they will shake, sweat, and feel faint. Many people think they are hungry because they feel a strong urge to eat, but they are not hungry and they do not realize that this feeling could mean that their glucose is high. It is always a good idea to check the glucose level if you are not sure, especially if you just ate within the past 2-3 hours.

Another side effect that can happen when taking Actos is glucose levels lowering faster than usually. It is highly recommended that a person keep glucose tablets with them at all times. If sugar levels do begin to drop, one can have the glucose tablets to keep some carbohydrates going into their body until they can get somewhere to eat. Glucose tablets have about 3-4 grams of carbohydrates in each tablet. These tablets were made for diabetics so that if they did pass out while they were eating one of these tablets, they would not choke on it, as it will dissolve quickly.

Sometimes people do gain weight when they take Actos. If you are underweight, this is a good thing, but if you are overweight, you will need to watch your diet more cautiously. Most diabetics will need to see a dietician in their medical care program, so they will teach each person more about weight gain and the proper foods to eat.

Other Brand Names for Actos

As of yet, there are no generic versions of Actos. There is one that may be available in the year 2011, but this has not been approved yet. Other names people may hear someone call Actos is pioglitazone hydrochloride and thiazolidinediones. The actual medical name for Actos is pioglitazone. It is in the family of medicines called thiazolidinediones.

Safety Information

Your physician will take into consideration other medical conditions that you have and they may still prescribe the medicine, however; they will tell you to watch out for certain side effects and contact them immediately if you feel like the medicine is affecting you in a negative manner.

If you are planning to be operated on in the near future, you will need to let your doctor know this before you take Actos. It may be alright for you to take the medicine. There are precautions doctors like to be aware of before you take new medicines. Also, it is a good idea to let your doctor know about any allergies you may have had in the past.

If someone is with child, planning a pregnancy, or presently breastfeeding their baby, it is a good idea to inform their doctor about this before taking Actos.

If a person has been diagnosed with a heart problem, their doctor will need to monitor them while they take this medicine in combination with insulin. If there is any sign of water retention; swelling of the hands and/or feet, your doctor needs to be contacted.

Some people may develop an eye condition called macular edema, but this is rare. If your eyesight does begin to change while taking this medicine, it is a good idea to see your doctor and have this checked out, just to be on the safe side.

If a person has been diagnosed with osteoporosis or any other weak bone disorder, they could break bones easier while taking this medicine. Take precautions to avoid falls if you do have weak bones. This pertains to the weakest parts of the bone structure. These parts are the wrists, hands, feet, lower extremities, upper extremities, and ankles.

As with most medications, the liver can be damaged by taking medicine. If someone drinks enough water each day, this can cut down this risk a lot.

If you are taking any other medications, be sure to tell your doctor about them and make sure that Actos will not counteract with any of them. This information is usually on the paperwork that is given to you by the pharmacist at the time each prescription is filled.

Each person is different with how they may react to a medicine. It is a good idea to keep note of how you feel and if there are any changes that concern you, be sure to discuss them with your doctor. One must make certain that they remember when they take the medicine, as it is possible to take too much of this and overdose on it. A good way to remember to take medicine each day is to set an alarm clock or watch to go off at that time. If you have a pill case with the days on each compartment, it will be easier to remember that it was taken.

When a person takes any kind of medicine, alcohol can lessen the affects of any medicine. Always keep medications in a dry, cool place, and out of reach of small children and pets.


  • Pill - 15 mg
  • Pill - 30 mg

Visual Description:

Actos usually comes in the form of a small pill that is small and white. On one side of the pill, it says ACTOS. On the other side of the pill, it states what the amount of milligrams is in it, so it will either have a 15, 30, or 45 on the other side of the pill. This medicine is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.

About Actos

What Actos is used for

Your doctor has prescribed ACTOS to treat type 2 diabetes, as an addition to diet and exercise, in order to improve your blood sugar control. ACTOS may be used alone or in combination with a sulfonylurea (e.g. Glyburide) or metformin (e.g. Glucophage).

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone that the body makes to help use food for energy. There are two types of diabetes: in type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond to insulin as well as it should, and/or cannot make enough insulin on its own. When this happens, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood. This can lead to serious medical problems, including kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage, heart disease, or stroke. The main goal of diabetes treatment is to lower blood sugar to a normal level. If blood sugar is controlled adequately, many people with diabetes live long and healthy lives.

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult onset diabetes. Over 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. Type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur in people who:

  • are over 40 years of age

  • are overweight

  • have a family history of diabetes

  • have given birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kg (9 pounds)

  • belong to certain ethnic groups

How Is Type 2 Diabetes Usually Controlled?

Treatment of type 2 diabetes must always include proper diet, exercise and weight control under the guidance of your physician.

What Actos does

ACTOS is a member of a new class of drugs that are insulin-sensitizing agents. ACTOS helps your body respond better to its own insulin, thereby reducing blood sugar levels in the body. Because ACTOS does not cause your body to produce more insulin, it rarely causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used alone. Even if you are taking ACTOS, you should still exercise and follow the recommended nutritional plan for your diabetes.

When Actos should not be used

ACTOS should not be used by patients who:

  • have serious liver damage

  • have heart problems or heart failure

  • are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding

  • are allergic to pioglitazone hydrochloride or any other ingredients of Actos.

What the medicinal ingredient is

Pioglitazone Hydrochloride.

What the important nonmedicinal ingredients for Actos are

Lactose monohydrate, hydroxypropylcellulose, carboxymethylcellulose calcium, magnesium stearate.

What dosage forms Actos comes in

ACTOS is available as tablets of 15 mg, 30 mg or 45 mg.

Warnings and Precautions

Because ACTOS works only in the presence of insulin, it should not be used if you have type 1 diabetes (when the pancreas does not produce insulin).

If you develop shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, swelling (edema), or unusual weight gain, call your doctor immediately. These symptoms may indicate heart problems.

If you experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, lack of appetite, dark urine or yellowing of the skin, call your doctor immediately as these symptoms may indicate liver problems.

If you are taking ACTOS with a sulfonylurea, you may develop low blood sugar. Call your doctor if you experience dizziness, lack of energy, drowsiness, headache, trembling or sweating.

Consult your doctor promptly during periods of stress, such as fever, trauma, infection or surgery, since your medication requirements may change during these times.

Fractures, usually in the hand, upper arm or foot, have been seen with ACTOS use in women. Talk to your doctor about the risk of fracture.

Before or while taking ACTOS, talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • have heart disease. ACTOS is not recommended in patients who have heart failure.

  • have liver disease. ACTOS is not recommended in patients with liver disease.

  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Current information strongly suggests that abnormal blood glucose levels can lead to serious adverse effects to the unborn child during pregnancy. All experts agree that insulin should be used during pregnancy to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.

  • are a woman who has not reached menopause but have no menstrual periods. You may become pregnant unless you use an effective method of birth control. ACTOS, like other drugs in this class, may cause women with insulin resistance to ovulate again.

ACTOS should not be used in children under 18 years of age.

Interactions with Actos

Women using oral birth control pills should check with their doctor about the possible need to adjust the dose or use alternative methods of contraception when taking ACTOS. Women should also inform their doctors of any changes in their monthly cycle.

ACTOS may also interact with some other drugs such as gemfibrozil, rifampicin, nifedipine and atorvastatin calcium. Tell your doctor if you are taking these medicines.

Proper Use of Actos

Usual dose

ACTOS should be taken once daily without regard to meals. The initial dose is 15 or 30 mg once daily. Do not exceed 45 mg once daily.

Take your ACTOS each day, as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. ACTOS can help you control your blood glucose levels only if you take it regularly. ACTOS should generally be taken at the same time each day at whatever time you find most convenient to remember.

Your doctor has prescribed ACTOS specifically for you. Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have a similar condition.


In the event of overdosage, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of ACTOS , do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose. Take your dose at the regular time on the following day.


  • Fasting blood glucose: Test your blood sugar levels with your personal glucose meter as often as your doctor recommends.

  • Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c): This blood test is done periodically to determine the average control of your blood sugar levels.

  • Liver Enzymes: Your doctor may recommend a blood test to monitor your liver function before you start ACTOS and may repeat this test occasionally while you take ACTOS.

Side Effects for Actos and What to Do About Them

The following side effects have been commonly reported with ACTOS (could affect up to 1 in 10 patients):

  • Edema (fluid retention or swelling) which could lead to or worsen heart failure. If you notice swelling in extremities (arms and legs, hands and feet), unusually rapid increase in weight, tiredness, trouble breathing or shortness of breath, call your doctor. These symptoms, although not specific, may signal heart problems.

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if you are taking ACTOS in combination with another diabetes medicine (e.g., metformin or a sulfonylurea). Dizziness, lack of energy, drowsiness, headache, trembling, sweating, or hunger may mean that your blood sugar is too low. This can happen if you skip meals, drink alcohol, use another medicine that lowers blood sugar, exercise (particularly hard or long), or if you have certain medical problems. Call your doctor if you feel that your symptoms of low blood sugar are uncomfortable. If you are using ACTOS by itself, there is less risk of having low blood sugar.

  • Increased weight. Tell your doctor if you gain a lot of weight in a short period of time.

The following side effects have been reported rarely with ACTOS (could affect up to 1 in 1000 patients):

  • Liver problems. If you experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, tiredness, dark urine, or yellowing of the skin, stop taking ACTOS and call your doctor right away.

  • Breakthrough bleeding (unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting) while using oral contraceptives, or generally, if you experience any symptoms that persist or become troublesome, these should be discussed with your doctor.

  • Blurred vision due to swelling (or fluid) in the back of the eye.

  • Fractures, usually in the hand, upper arm or foot, have been seen with ACTOS use in women. Talk to your doctor about the risk of fracture.

The following side effects have been reported very rarely with ACTOS (could affect up to 1 in 10,000 patients):

  • Heart failure or pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, getting tired easily after light physical activity such as walking, waking up short of breath at night and swollen ankles or feet. Symptoms of fluid in the lungs are breathlessness, which may be very severe and usually worsens on lying down. Stop taking ACTOS and call your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms.

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count) which may make you feel very weak or tired.

  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat (which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing); hives or rash (which may be itchy). Stop taking ACTOS and call your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms.

Serious Side Effects, How Often They Happen and What to Do About Them
Symptom/Effect Talk with your doctor or pharmacist Stop taking drug and call your doctor or pharmacist
Only if severe In all cases
Common Fluid retention or swelling in extremities (arms and legs, hands and feet)    
Common (when taken with other antidiabetic medicines) Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): dizziness, lack of energy, drowsiness, headache, trembling sweating, hunger    
Rare Liver problems: nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, tiredness, dark urine, or yellowing of the skin    
Blurred vision or decreased vision [which may be due to swelling (or fluid) in the back of the eye].    
Fractures, usually in the hand, upper arm or foot, in women.    
Very rare Heart failure or fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema): trouble breathing or shortness of breath, getting tired easily after light physical activity, unusual tiredness, waking up short of breath at night, swollen ankles or feet, unusually rapid increase in weight    
Allergic reactions: swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat (may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing), hives or rash    

This is not a complete list of side effects. For any unexpected effects while taking ACTOS, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Actos Facts

Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America is the manufacturer of ACTOS (pioglitazone hydrochloride).

More than 8,000 type 2 diabetics received ACTOS (pioglitazone hydrochloride) in clinical trials.

More than 3,000 type 2 diabetics have taken ACTOS (pioglitazone hydrochloride) for longer than two years.

An oral agent that decreases insulin resistance, ACTOS is used in the management of type 2 diabetes.


Technical Information

What Others Are Saying About actos:

Alyse Caines on Friday January 9, 2009

I asked my doctor if I could stop taking Actos, and he asked me why. I said that I couldn't afford it, so he proposed I take the generic Pioglitazone instead. On your website, I found that I could order generic Pioglitazone for less money than I was spending on the brand version. So, now I have one less thing to worry about, and that alone will improve my health!

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