|Elimination half-life||3–7 hours|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||356.44 g/mol|
|3D model (JSmol)|
|Melting point||183 to 184 °C (361 to 363 °F)|
Pioglitazone (brand name Actos) is a prescription drug of the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class with hypoglycemic (antihyperglycemic, antidiabetic) action to treat diabetes. While pioglitazone does decrease blood sugar levels, studies on the main cardiovascular outcomes have not yielded statistically significant results.
Its cardiovascular safety profile compares favorably with that of rosiglitazone, which was withdrawn from some markets after concerns about an increased risk of cardiac events. Pioglitazone has been found to be associated with bladder tumors. It has been withdrawn in some countries.
Actos was the tenth-best selling drug in the U.S. in 2008, with sales exceeding $2.4 billion.
The main study that looked at the medication, however, found no statistically significant difference in the main cardiovascular outcomes that were looked at. The secondary outcome of death from all causes, myocardial infarction, and stroke were lower.
Pioglitazone cannot be used in patients with a known hypersensitivity to pioglitazone, other thiazolidinediones or any of components of its pharmaceutical forms. It is ineffective and possibly harmful in diabetes mellitus type 1 and diabetic ketoacidosis. Its safety in pregnancy, lactation (breastfeeding) and people under 18 is not established.
A press release by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2007 noted that there is a greater incidence of fractures of the upper arms, hands and feet in female diabetics given rosiglitazone compared with those given metformin or glyburide. The information was based on data from the ADOPT trial. Following release of this statement, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, the developer of pioglitazone (sold as Actos in many markets) admitted that it has similar implications for female patients.
The risk of hypoglycemia is low in the absence of other drugs that lower blood glucose.
Pioglitazone can cause fluid retention and peripheral edema. As a result, it may precipitate congestive heart failure (which worsens with fluid overload in those at risk). It may cause anemia. Mild weight gain is common due to increase in subcutaneous adipose tissue. In studies, patients on pioglitazone had an increased proportion of upper respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, headache, myalgia and tooth problems.
On July 30, 2007 an Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration concluded that the use of rosiglitazone for the treatment of type 2 diabetes was associated with a greater risk of "myocardial ischemic events" when compared to placebo, but when compared to other diabetes drugs, there was no increased risk. Pioglitazone is currently being reviewed. A meta-analysis released subsequently showed that pioglitazone reduced the risk of ischemic cardiac events rather than increased the risk, but increased CHF.
On June 9, 2011 the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products decided to withdraw pioglitazone in regards to high risk of bladder cancer. This suspension was based on the results of an epidemiological study conducted by the French National Health Insurance. According to the results of the epidemiological study, the French agency found that patients, who were taking Actos for a long time to aid in type 2 diabetes mellitus, significantly increased risk of bladder cancer compared with patients who were taking other diabetes medications. On June 10, 2011 Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices also advised doctors not to prescribe the medication until further investigation of the cancer risk had been conducted.
On June 15, 2011 the U.S. FDA announced that pioglitazone use for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, and two months later the label was updated with an additional warning about this risk.
A 2017 meta-analysis of diabetes found no difference in the rates of bladder cancer attributed to the pioglitazone.
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Mechanism of action
Pioglitazone selectively stimulates the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) and to a lesser extent PPAR-α. It modulates the transcription of the genes involved in the control of glucose and lipid metabolism in the muscle, adipose tissue, and the liver. As a result, pioglitazone reduces insulin resistance in the liver and peripheral tissues, decreases gluconeogenesis in the liver, and reduces quantity of glucose and glycated hemoglobin in the bloodstream.
Society and culture
Pioglitazone is marketed as trademarks Actos in the USA, Canada, the UK and Germany, Glustin in Europe, Glizone and Pioz in India by Zydus Cadila and USV Limited, respectively and Zactos in Mexico by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. On August 17, 2012 the US FDA announced its approval of the first generic version of Actos.
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Since 2005, there has been much debate on the relative value of the statistically non-significant 10% reduction in the quite challenging primary composite endpoint (combining cardiovascular disease-driven and procedural events in all vascular beds) versus the statistically significant 16% decrease in the more robust and conventional main secondary endpoint (all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke) observed with pioglitazone.
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