Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Pioglitazone may infrequently cause or worsen a certain heart problem (congestive heart failure). Tell your doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of heart failure, including swelling of the hands/feet, unusual/sudden weight gain, trouble breathing, or unusual tiredness.
This medication is not recommended in patients with certain types of heart failure. Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have heart failure.
Metformin can rarely cause a serious (sometimes fatal) condition called lactic acidosis. Get medical help right away if you develop any of the following symptoms of lactic acidosis: unusual tiredness, dizziness, severe drowsiness, chills, blue/cold skin, muscle pain, fast/difficult breathing, slow/irregular heartbeat, stomach pain with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Lactic acidosis is more likely to occur in patients who have certain medical conditions, including kidney or liver disease, recent surgery, a serious infection, conditions that may cause a low level of oxygen in the blood or poor circulation (such as congestive heart failure, recent heart attack, recent stroke), heavy alcohol use, a severe loss of body fluids (dehydration), or X-ray or scanning procedures that require an injectable iodinated contrast drug. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these conditions occur or if you notice a big change in your overall health. You may need to stop taking this medication temporarily. The elderly are also at higher risk, especially those older than 80 years who have not had kidney tests. (See also Side Effects and Precautions sections.)
See also Warning section.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to pioglitazone or metformin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: severe breathing problems (such as obstructive lung disease, severe asthma), blood problems (such as anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency), kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease (such as congestive heart failure, chest pain), fluid in your lungs, swelling (edema), a certain eye problem (macular edema), bladder cancer.
Before having surgery or any X-ray/scanning procedure using injectable iodinated contrast material, tell your doctor that you are taking this medication. You will need to temporarily stop this medication before the time of your surgery/procedure. Consult your doctor for further instructions.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar levels. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while using this medication because it can increase your risk of lactic acidosis and developing low blood sugar.
High fever, "water pills" (diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide), too much sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting may cause loss of too much body water (dehydration) and increase your risk of lactic acidosis. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you have prolonged diarrhea or vomiting. Be sure to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration unless your doctor directs you otherwise.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because increased stress may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Pioglitazone may increase the risk of bone fracture in women (usually in the upper arm, hand, or foot). See also Notes section.
Older adults may be at greater risk for side effects such as low blood sugar or lactic acidosis.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Your doctor may direct you to use insulin instead of this product during your pregnancy. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
This medication can cause changes in the menstrual cycle (promote ovulation) and increase the risk of becoming pregnant. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable birth control while using this medication.
Metformin passes into breast milk in small amounts. It is unknown if pioglitazone passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, weakness, sore throat, muscle pain, weight gain, tooth problems or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If stomach symptoms return later (after taking the same dose for several days or weeks), tell your doctor immediately. Stomach symptoms that occur after the first days of your treatment may be signs of lactic acidosis.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: new/worsening vision problems (such as blurred vision), bone fracture, reddish-colored urine, urgent need to urinate, pain while urinating.
Pioglitazone may rarely cause liver disease. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver disease, including: dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain.
This medication usually does not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other anti-diabetic medications (such as insulin or a sulfonylurea). Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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Information expires June 2016.