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What is Pioglitazone (Actos)?

Pioglitazone is a generic prescription drug used to treat type 2 diabetes that helps make your body more sensitive to the insulin that is in your system. It is marketed under the brand name Actos and it is part of the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class.

What is Actos used for?

Pioglitazone is used to treat type 2 diabetes, in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, in order to help you improve your blood sugar control.

How does this drug work?

Pioglitazone is a member of a family of drugs called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs for short, that are called insulin-sensitizing compounds, which means they help your body react better to its own insulin. This reduces the overall blood sugar level in the body. It regulates the genes that are involved in the control of sugar and fat breakdown in the body. As a result, it reduces insulin resistance (a condition in which the cells in your body fail to respond normally to insulin), decreases gluconeogenesis (the production of sugar from food) in the liver, and reduces blood sugar levels.

Since Actos does not actually make your body create more insulin, it very infrequently causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which is a common side effect of many oral antidiabetic medications when used individually.

How to take this medication

Always make sure to follow all the directions on your prescription label. Sometimes your doctor may modify your dose, or schedule in order to make sure you get the best results. Always follow your doctor’s instructions above all others.

Pioglitazone is usually taken once daily, with or without food. Never change your dose or schedule without your doctor’s approval.

Your blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor’s office in order to prevent low blood sugar.

Symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) include

  • headache
  • sweating
  • hunger
  • pale skin
  • feeling shaky
  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • trouble concentrating

Always keep a source of sugar with you in case you experience low blood sugar. Your doctor can also prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit and show you how to use it.

Always monitor your blood sugar levels carefully, especially during times of stress, illness, travel, surgery or other medical procedures, prolonged exercise, or if you drink alcohol or miss meals. All of these things can affect your blood sugar levels which means your dose needs may also change.

Pioglitazone is only part of a treatment program that may also include a healthy diet, regular exercise, supervised weight control, continual blood sugar testing, and in some cases, special medical care.

Pioglitazone dosage

Pioglitazone should be taken once daily with or without meals. Its initial dose is usually between 15 or 30 mg once daily. The maximum recommended dose is 45 mg once daily.

It can only help you control your blood sugar levels if you take it regularly. Generally, it should be taken at the same time everyday at whatever time you find most fitting and convenient for you to remember.

For patients without congestive heart failure, the usual initial dose is 15 mg or 30 mg orally once a day. For patients with congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association Class I or II), the usual initial dose is 15 mg orally once a day. A typical maintenance dose is between 15 mg to 45 mg orally once a day based on your blood sugar level response.

Warnings and Precautions

Pioglitazone should not be used by patients who:

  • Are allergic to pioglitazone or any other ingredients
  • Have or have had heart problems or heart failure
  • Have serious liver damage
  • Have or have had bladder cancer
  • Have blood or a red colour in their urine
  • Are pregnant, or are planning on becoming pregnant

It is not approved for use with metformin, a sulfonylurea or with insulin therapy.

If you do happen to take Actos with a sulfonylurea, you may develop low blood sugar. Make sure to ask your doctor what the symptoms are of low blood sugar are, and what to do if indeed your blood sugar becomes too low.

Pioglitazone is also not approved for used in children under 18 years of age.

Side effects

Common side effects may include:

  • Edema (fluid retention or swelling)
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Increased weight

Less common negative effects may include:

  • Liver problems
  • Breakthrough bleeding (unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting)
  • Blurred vision (due to swelling [or fluid] in the back of the eye)
  • Fractures

Serious side effects may include:

  • Heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs)
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat

Call your doctor immediately if any you experience any of the symptoms below:

  1. Symptoms of heart failure, which can include shortness of breath, tiredness, swelling (edema), weakness or unusual weight gain.
  2. Symptoms of liver problems can include tiredness, lack of appetite, yellowing of the skin or the white part of the eye, or dark urine.
  3. Symptoms of bladder cancer can include an increased need to urinate, pain while you urinate, or blood or a red color in your urine.

Talk to your health care provider about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all the possible negative effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What is Pioglitazone Hydrochloride (HCL)?

Pioglitazone hydrochloride (HCL) is a type of diabetes medication used to control blood glucose levels. Chemically, pioglitazone is classified as a thiazolidinedione, which has agonist activities on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) gamma.

The drug is supplied in the dosage strength of 15mg. In addition, it is available in concentrations of 30mg and 45mg. The drug comes with a product insert, which should be read carefully before use.

What is it used for?

Pioglitazone is used as to improve glycemic control in adult patients with diabetes mellitus (particularly type II diabetes). This medicine is intended for the treatment of type II diabetes only. It is ineffective in treating patients with type I diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. This is because the drug can only exert its antihyperglycemic actions in the presence of endogenous insulin. For best results, this diabetes medicine should be used in combination with non-pharmacological interventions such as exercise and diet. Pioglitazone should be used cautiously in patients who have liver diseases.

Why use this medication?

Patients should use pioglitazone as part of their diabetes management. When used together with exercise and diet, it significantly improves glycemic control in individuals with type II diabetes. Being FDA-approved, pioglitazone is clinically proven safe and effective.

What is Pioglitazone?

Pioglitazone is a prescription drug taken to improve glycemic control. This drug belongs to a new class of Type 2 diabetes medications called thiazolidinedione. These drugs modulate the expression of genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism through the activation of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ). This results in a reduction in insulin resistance in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue.

Pioglitazone is available in tablets of 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg. This medication comes with 100 30-mg tablets and a product insert. It is taken orally once daily.

What is it used for?

Pioglitazone, marketed as Actos, is meant for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. As this treatment depends on the presence of native insulin, it is not used for Type 1 diabetes treatment. This medication should be considered only in patients for whom diet, exercise, and first-line diabetic medications like metformin have not provided adequate glycemic control.

Why use Pioglitazone?

This antidiabetic medication has a unique mechanism of action and is suitable to be used as a complement to most other types of medications, including sulphylureas and metformin. This drug has been shown to lessen the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a major concern in diabetic patients.