Pioglitazone Tablet – Uses, Side Effects and Dosage

Medically Reviewed By DR. ARJUN SUBASH KALASAPUR, MD (Pharmacology) December 6, 2023

Pioglitazone is a prominent anti-diabetes drug. It is in the thiazolidinedione class of meds and also goes by the name of ‘Glitazones’. Pioglitazone tablet is only meant for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. This drug is used with the course of proper diabetes-friendly meals and strength workouts and exercises. All of these together help you control your diabetes efficiently.

According to the National Health Service U.K., the Pioglitazone hydrochloride tablet works by enhancing the sensitivity of the insulin hormone in your body. The hormone that controls blood sugar. It also lessens the sugar production in the liver. According to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Pioglitazone medicine has been proven to reduce fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels in diabetes patients. The medicine is marked safe to use in India.

Pioglitazone is not to be used by type 1 diabetics. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t generate insulin at all. It is also not to be used if you have diabetic ketoacidosis.

Pioglitazone Uses

The main pioglitazone uses include increasing insulin sensitivity and lessening sugar production in the liver. Pioglitazone comes in the oral form and has different strengths. The pioglitazone tablet is taken orally.

The drug is used once per day with meals or without meals, as your doctor suggests. However, fix the timing of the pioglitazone dose to bring it into habit.

The pioglitazone tablet is not to be used more than the strength prescribed by the doctor. Strictly adhere to it. In the initial phases, the doctor will prescribe a lower pioglitazone dose and slowly increase it.

Please do note that pioglitazone can only control type 2 diabetes and not cure it. Moreover, pioglitazone can take about two weeks to start its effect. And another two to three months to function fully.

Another thing to note is never stop pioglitazone on your own, even if your blood sugar gets in the normal range. Always consult with your doctor before taking such a step.

Read More: HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c) A1c Chart, Test, Levels, & Normal Range

Precautions to Take Before using Pioglitazone Tablets

  • Before using pioglitazone drug, tell the doctor all kinds of allergies you have. Pioglitazone may contain inactive compounds which can aggravate your allergy.
  • Also, your doctor should know your full medical history, including surgeries you have had. If you have heart disease, liver disorders, edema, anaemia, cancer, etc., it should be revealed to the doctor.
  • When on pioglitazone hcl tablets, you can experience blurriness in vision, tiredness and fatigue. This happens due to blood sugar fluctuations. Once you experience any of these, stop whatever activity you are doing, driving, working, or moving. Ultimately, it should be stopped, and you should at once go for medical help.
  • Consumption of alcohol is to be limited or completely avoided when taking pioglitazone hcl tablets. Alcohol increases the chances of hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar).
  • Stress management is also important. Blood sugar fluctuations are more significant when your body is stressed. Therefore, talking to your doctor about stress management is essential. The doctor will adjust the dosage accordingly.
  • Pioglitazone usage heightens the chances of bone fracture in women.
  • Pioglitazone also influences the menstrual cycle, heightening pregnancy chances.

Read More: Chart of Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Pioglitazone Drug Dosage

Pioglitazone comes in different strengths, which are:

  • Pioglitazone 7.5 mg
  • Pioglitazone 15 mg
  • Pioglitazone 30 mg
  • Pioglitazone 45 mg

The dosage of pioglitazone is strictly to be decided by your doctor after examining your present health condition. Pioglitazone tablet is to be taken once per day only.

According to the Mayo Clinic, initially, your doctor may start with a lower dose of pioglitazone 15 mg or less once per day.

The maximum dosage of this drug is pioglitazone 45 mg.

Missed Dose

In case you miss the daily scheduled dose of Actos pioglitazone, please take it as soon as you remember it. However, if you remember that you have missed the dose at a time very close to the next dose, then skip it.


Do not take more than the prescribed dose of pioglitazone hydrochloride tablets in any case. Taking more than one prescribed dose can disturb your sugar level and can progress to hypoglycemia.

Foods to Avoid While Taking Pioglitazone

When taking pioglitazone 15 mg or pioglitazone 30 mg tablets, it’s important to be mindful of specific dietary considerations. Here are more details:


Pioglitazone 15 mg or 30 mg tablets may increase the risk of liver problems, and alcohol can further stress the liver. It’s advisable to limit alcohol intake or avoid it altogether while using this medication. However, according to the National Health Service U.K., you can consume alcohol, but not more than 2 units (88 ml) for men. Women can consume only one unit (44 ml) per day.

High-Fat Meals

Pioglitazone’s absorption can be affected by high-fat meals. Consuming meals rich in fats shortly before or after taking the medication may alter its effectiveness. Try to maintain a consistent and balanced diet.


While grapefruit interactions are more commonly associated with certain medications. It’s a good practice to discuss grapefruit consumption with your healthcare provider, as it can sometimes affect pioglitazone drug metabolism. According to the Medscape website, consuming grapefruit may increase the effect of Pioglitazone on your body.

Always follow your doctor’s or dietician’s recommendations, and inform them about your dietary habits and any changes you plan to make. They can provide personalized suggestions based on your current health profile and ongoing medications.

Read More: Glucophage 500 MG Tablets to Control Your Blood Sugar Level

Pioglitazone Side Effects

 Pioglitazone Side Effects

Pioglitazone tablet is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, and like any medication, it can have various side effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, here’s a more detailed explanation of side effects:

Common Side Effects:

  • Weight Gain: Some individuals may experience weight gain while taking pioglitazone hydrochloride tablets.
  • Edema (Fluid Retention): Mild-to-moderate swelling, particularly in the legs and ankles, can occur.
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Fruit smelling breath
  • Increase in urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Skin becomes dry

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Headaches: Some people may experience headaches as a side effect of the pioglitazone drug.
  • Muscle Pain: Uncommonly, individuals may report muscle pain.
  • Upper Respiratory Infections: Infections of the upper respiratory tract, such as cough and cold, can occur.

Serious Side Effects (Rare but Important):

  • Liver Problems: Serious liver problems are rare but can occur. Symptoms may include persistent nausea, yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice), and dark urine.
  • Heart Failure: Pioglitazone 15 mg or 30 mg tablets may exacerbate heart failure symptoms in some individuals.
  • Bladder Cancer: There’s a potential increased risk of bladder cancer, although the evidence is not conclusive.

It’s crucial to report any unusual or severe symptoms to your diabetologist promptly. Regular monitoring and communication with your doctor are essential to manage and address any potential side effects. Always follow your doctor’s guidance and inform them of any changes in your health while taking pioglitazone 30 mg or 45 mg tablets.

Read More: Glycomet Trio 2 Uses and Composition

FAQ’s ( Frequently Asked Questions)

Why is pioglitazone banned in India?

Pioglitazone was suspended by GOI (Govt. of India) on 18th June 2013. The major reasons for the ban were:
High risk of the urinary bladder
Increased chances of heart ailments
Severe related side effects

Who should not take pioglitazone?

Following are the people who should stay away from pioglitazone tablets:
Heart patients
Type 1 diabetes patients
People with diabetic ketoacidosis
Diabetes patients taking external insulin

Is pioglitazone safe for kidneys?

Pioglitazone comes in the thiazolidinedione class of drugs. Some studies say CKD kidney patients and patients with renal diseases can use pioglitazone meds for a long time.

How long is it safe to take pioglitazone?

Yes, some studies and doctors suggest long-term usage of pioglitazone for life. Never stop taking pioglitazone on your own.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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