Actos, in addition to diet control and exercise, is used to control blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is the version of diabetes that is not insulin dependent. Actos can be used with other medications if using it plus diet control and exercise are not enough to control the blood sugar levels. Actos should not be used to treat Type 1 Diabetes (juvenile diabetes) or diabetic ketoacidosis. Heart failure, active liver disease, or fluid retention problems, a doctor will evaluate your personal status to determine if Actos could be used despite these other problems.
Since Actos became available, there have been reports of inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and elevated liver enzymes. It has not been determined whether these conditions are related to Actos directly but it is still a good idea to have your liver enzymes monitored periodically. Actos is in the same class of drugs as Rezulin which is associated with serious liver injury. It is also in the same family drugs as Avandia which might be associated with heart attacks and heart failure. Women who are using an oral birth control medication should consult their doctor before using Actos because it can lessen the effectiveness of their medications.
Some possible, not serious, side effects of Actos are a cough or cold, headache, inflammation of the sinuses or throat, muscle pain, and swelling or fluid retention.
In August of 2007 the FDA issued a warning that calls for a label to be on Actos' box detailing the increased risk of heart failure, particularly in certain populations. The FDA plans to release more warnings when they have more information available.