Pioglitazone: an old type 2 diabetes drug makes a comeback!
GUEST BLOG by Dr. Mansur Shomali, Endocrinologist and co-author of the Health & Wellness Series
Pioglitazone came into medical use in 1999 under the brand name Actos. As with many medications, it was released with a lot of fanfare, but saw fewer prescriptions after a 2008 warning about a similar medication. Today, many doctors are again prescribing it because of its benefits. Currently, it is prescribed to over 5 million people in the U.S.
Many people with type 2 diabetes have something called insulin resistance. In this situation, the insulin that is released by the pancreas does not work effectively to reduce blood glucose. Pioglitazone works by making the human body more sensitive to insulin.
Like all medications, pioglitazone has advantages and some disadvantages.
· improves insulin resistance, a common feature of type 2 diabetes
· lowers blood glucose without causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
· is an inexpensive medication
· it may reduce the risk of certain types of heart disease
· Can cause weight gain in some people
· Can cause fluid retention and worsening of heart failure
· Takes several weeks to start working once a patient starts taking it
You might want to talk to your doctor about whether pioglitazone might be a worthwhile drug choice for you.