Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Thiazolidinediones for Type 2 Diabetes

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
pioglitazone Actos
rosiglitazone Avandia

Thiazolidinediones are also available in combination with other medicines. Pioglitazone is combined with the biguanide medicine metformin (Actoplus Met) and the sulfonylurea medicine glimepiride (Duetact).

Rosiglitazone is combined with metformin (Avandamet) and the sulfonylurea medicine glimepiride (Avandaryl).

Rosiglitazone and combination medicine using rosiglitazone are available only for people specially qualified to take them. These medicines are available only through certified pharmacies.

How It Works

These medicines lower insulin resistance in muscle and fat. They also reduce glucose produced by the liver.

Why It Is Used

Thiazolidinediones are usually used when other medicines have failed to lower blood sugar levels into a target range.

These medicines sometimes lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol.

How Well It Works

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can get worse over time, so medicines may need to change.

Diabetes medicines work best for people who are being active and eating healthy foods. Studies have suggested that thiazolidinediones lower hemoglobin A1c by 0.5% to 1.4%.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Women who have stopped menstruating before they start taking these medicines may begin menstruating again and may become pregnant. Also, women who take oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy may become pregnant.

Women who take rosiglitazone (Avandia) or pioglitazone (Actos) may increase their risk for upper arm or foot fractures, according to a warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA has announced possible safety issues with the drugs rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos). Some studies have shown that people who take Avandia may raise their chance of having a heart attack, and people who take Actos may raise their chance of bladder cancer. The FDA recommends that people with bladder cancer not take Actos for diabetes.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Citations

  1. Inzucchi SE, et al. (2012). Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: A patient-centered approach. Diabetes Care, 35(6): 1364–1379.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Current as of July 11, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article