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Actos is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. Actos is for people with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. It is sometimes used in combination with insulin or other medications, but it is not for treating type 1 diabetes. Actos may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
The health and medical information provided here is for general purposes only and is not a substitute for the expertise and judgment of your physician, or other health care professional. It should not be understood to indicate that the use of this medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you. Always consult your health care professional before using this, or any other, drug.
Do not use Actos if you have type 1 diabetes, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).
Before taking Actos, tell your doctor if you have congestive heart failure or heart disease, a history of heart attack or stroke, or liver disease.
Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them, including hunger, headache, confusion, irritability, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, tremors, sweating, fast heartbeat, seizure (convulsions), fainting, or coma (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal). Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar.
Some women using Actos have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk 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 may increase your risk of serious heart problems. However, not treating your diabetes can damage your heart and other organs. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your diabetes with Actos.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Actos and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
swelling or rapid weight gain;
chest pain, general ill feeling;
nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
increased thirst or hunger, urinating more than usual; or
pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness.
Less serious Actos side effects may include:
sneezing, runny nose, cough or other signs of a cold;
gradual weight gain;
muscle pain; or
Take Actos exactly as it was prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts, or take it 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 from Actos.
This medicine is usually taken once daily. You may take Actos with or without food.
Actos is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Your doctor may also recommend other medicines to treat your diabetes.
It is important to use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
To be sure Actos is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested, and you may need regular eye exams. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Your medication needs may change if you become sick or injured, if you have a serious infection, or if you have any type of surgery. Your doctor may want you to stop taking Actos for a short time if any of these situations affect you.
Take care not to let your blood sugar get too low, causing hypoglycemia. You may have hypoglycemia if you skip a meal, exercise too long, drink alcohol, or are under stress.
Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them:
hunger, headache, confusion, irritability;
drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, tremors;
sweating, fast heartbeat;
seizure (convulsions); or
fainting, coma (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal).
Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.
Store Actos at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.