Actos, the brand name for Pioglitazone hydrochloride, is a medication available only through prescription. It comes in tablet form and it is a medication used to treat diabetic patients, primarily those with type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Depending on the patient’s condition, Actos may be used alone or with other diabetic medications. Actos is classified as a thiazolidinedione, which is a group of diabetic medications that improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Increased insulin sensitivity means that blood sugar is kept under control. Actos helps prevent complications related to diabetes such as neuropathies, blood vessel diseases, and heart attack.
Just like with any medication, Actos may have some possible side effects, especially with long-term use. However, not everyone taking Actos will experience it’s side effects. Most people actually tolerate the medication very well even with chronic intake. If side effects do occur, they are generally minor and they do not require serious treatments. The side effects can be easily managed by you or your health care provider. So what are the common Actos side effects and how do you address them?
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This is the most common side effect of taking Actos for a long period. Headaches are usually minor and they resolve after a few hours of rest. Taking medications like acetaminophen is allowed if you cannot tolerate the pain anymore. However, if headaches still persist even after a few days of rest and pain medications, go to your physician and have yourself checked immediately.
Increased hunger urges
Hunger urges tend to increase with the use of Actos. This is because the body is more sensitive to the effects of insulin so sugars are quickly digested and converted into usable forms of energy. But this side effect may also arise if the dosage is too high for your body’s capacity. Make sure that you consult with your doctor if hunger urges seem to become very frequent even after eating full meals.
Respiratory tract infections
For reasons still not identified, the long-term use of Actos weakens the respiratory tract’s immunity. This results to throat and respiratory infections like sore throat, sinusitis, coughs, and colds. Bed rest, antibiotics, and increased fluid intake are the common ways to manage minor respiratory tract infections. Observing a healthy lifestyle prevents these infections from recurring. If the infection gets worse, go to your doctor immediately for consultation.
For women, continued use of Actos may experience increased release of eggs during ovulation. This increase in egg release increases a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. If you have been taking Actos for a while now, make sure that you consult your gynecologist about family planning methods you can use especially if you are not yet ready to have a baby.
Actos may be linked to upwards of a 40% increase in the chance of developing bladder cancer in patients who have been using Actos for over 12 months. See further down this page for a more detailed explanation of how Actos is associated with bladder cancer.