Diabetes Home > Actos for Diabetes

For people with type 2 diabetes, Actos can help lower blood sugar levels enough to reduce the risk for developing long-term problems related to diabetes. At this point, the drug is not recommended for use in children. Off-label uses for Actos include the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Diabetes and Actos: An Overview

Actos® (pioglitazone hydrochloride) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed to treat type 2 diabetes. The drug can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications. Actos cannot be used to treat type 1 diabetes (see Actos and Type 1 Diabetes).

Using Actos for Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes (see Diabetes Types). It is also sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition involving insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, body cells do not respond to insulin as well as they normally should. As a result, the body cells do not take sugar out of the blood very well. This is why people with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar.
Over time, high blood sugar can lead to a number of problems, including diabetic impotence, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and heart disease (see Diabetes Complications). The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood, although it is known that obesity and genetics play an important role.
Actos is used for treating type 2 diabetes in people who cannot lower blood sugar through lifestyle changes alone, such as weight loss, diet, and exercise. It is part of a group of diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones (or sometimes called "glitazones"). Actos helps to improve insulin sensitivity, meaning that it helps your body use its natural insulin better. This not only causes a lowering of blood sugar, but also keeps it under better control.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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