Glimepiride / pioglitazone Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 22, 2022.
Commonly reported side effects of glimepiride/pioglitazone include: hypoglycemia and weight gain. Other side effects include: edema, exacerbation of diabetes mellitus, and nausea. Continue reading for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
Applies to glimepiride / pioglitazone: oral tablet.
Oral route (Tablet)
Pioglitazone hydrochloride, a component of glimepiride/pioglitazone hydrochloride, may cause or exacerbate congestive heart failure; monitor patients for signs and symptoms of heart failure after initiation or dose increase. Should heart failure develop, manage according to current standards of care. Consider discontinuation or dose reduction. Glimepiride / pioglitazone hydrochloride is not recommended in patients with symptomatic heart failure and is contraindicated in established NYHA Class III or IV heart failure.
Serious side effects
Along with its needed effects, glimepiride / pioglitazone may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking glimepiride / pioglitazone:
- bladder pain
- bloody or cloudy urine
- blurred vision
- cold sweats
- cool, pale skin
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- fast heartbeat
- frequent urge to urinate
- increased hunger
- increased weight
- lower back or side pain
- slurred speech
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Accidental injury
- loss of appetite
- pain or swelling in the arms or legs without any injury
- pale skin
- stomach pain
- troubled breathing with exertion
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- weight loss
- yellow eyes or skin
Other side effects
Some side effects of glimepiride / pioglitazone may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Body aches or pain
- difficulty with moving
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- ear congestion
- joint pain
- loss of voice
- muscle aching or cramping
- muscle pains or stiffness
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
- swollen joints
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tooth disorder
- trouble swallowing
- voice changes
- itching skin or rash
- lack or loss of strength
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to glimepiride / pioglitazone: oral tablet.
Very common (10% or more): Lower leg edema (up to 12.3%)
Very common (10% or more): Edema (up to 26.7%)
Common (1% to 10%): Cardiac failure, chest pain[Ref]
Pioglitazone is associated with edema (peripheral, generalized, and pitting edema and fluid retention) when used alone or when used in combination therapy. In pioglitazone monotherapy trials, edema occurred in 2.5% (n=81), 4.7% (n=275), and 6.5% (n=169) of patients receiving 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg of pioglitazone daily for 16 to 26 weeks. Pioglitazone in combination with a sulfonylurea for 16 to 24 weeks resulted in edema in 1.6% (n=184), 11.3% (n=540), and 23.1% (n=351) of patients receiving 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg of pioglitazone daily, respectively. In a study in patients with NYHA class II or III heart failure the percentage of patients experiencing CHF progression during the study was 13.4% and 8.2% in patients receiving pioglitazone (n=262) and glyburide (n=256), respectively.
In the PROactive trial, a study in 5238 patients with type 2 diabetes and a history of macrovascular disease who were force-uptitrated to pioglitazone 45 mg once a day or received placebo in addition to standard of care, edema occurred in 27.3% of patients treated with pioglitazone (n=2605) compared with 15.9% of placebo (n=2633) patients. Treatment-emergent adverse events leading to at least 1 hospitalized congestive heart failure event occurred in 5.7% of patients receiving pioglitazone and 4.1% of patients receiving placebo.
The primary objective of the 3-year PROactive trial was to examine the effect of pioglitazone on mortality and macrovascular morbidity in high-risk patients. No statistically significant difference between pioglitazone and placebo/standard care were observed for time to the first occurrence of their first event (all-cause mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) including silent MI, stroke, acute coronary syndrome, cardiac intervention including coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous intervention, major leg amputation above the ankle, and bypass surgery or revascularization in the leg). A total of 514 patients receiving pioglitazone experienced at least 1 event compared with 572 patients receiving placebo/standard care.
Postmarketing reports of congestive heart failure have been received in patients treated with pioglitazone. Reports have been received from patients both with and without a history of a known history of heart disease and both with and without concomitant insulin use.[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): ALT values greater than 3 times upper limit of normal (3 x ULN)
Postmarketing reports: Hepatic failure
Common (1% to 10%): Elevated ALT to greater than 2 x ULN
Postmarketing reports: Liver function impairment (e.g. with cholestasis and jaundice), as well as hepatitis, which may progress to liver failure, hepatic porphyria reactions and disulfiram-like reactions[Ref]
There have been postmarketing reports of serious allergic reactions in patients receiving glimepiride such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, dyspnea, hypotension, and shock. In clinical trials allergic reactions such as pruritus, erythema, urticaria, and morbilliform or maculopapular eruptions, occurred in less than 1% of patients receiving glimepiride, and some resolved despite continued treatment.
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Allergic reactions
Postmarketing reports: Serious allergic reactions
The US FDA has released results of its review of pioglitazone and bladder cancer and concluded that the data suggests use of this drug may be linked to an increase risk of bladder cancer. A 10-year prospective cohort study in diabetic patients performed by the manufacturer (n=158,918 never users; n=34,181 ever users) identified 1075 newly diagnosed cases of bladder cancer in never users and 186 cases in ever users. The fully adjusted hazard ratio (HR) showed pioglitazone use was not associated with an increased risk (HR 1.06 (95% confidence interval 0.89 to 1.26). And while a modest trend towards higher risk with increasing duration was observed, this trend was not statistically significant. Compared to the interim 5-year results, the 10-year results found weaker associations that were not statistically significant. However, there are studies that have shown a statistically significant association between exposure to this drug and bladder cancer and an association between cumulative dose or cumulative duration of exposure and bladder cancer. Overall, this drug may be associated with an increase in the risk of urinary bladder tumors, however there is insufficient data to determine whether this drug is a tumor promoter for urinary bladder tumors.[Ref]
SIADH has been reported postmarketing in patients receiving glimepiride, most often in patients who are on other medications or who have medical conditions known to cause hyponatremia or increase release of antidiuretic hormone.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Resumption of ovulation in premenopausal, anovulatory women, hormonal imbalance
Postmarketing reports: Hyponatremia, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)[Ref]
Macular edema has been reported in postmarketing experience in diabetic patients who were taking pioglitazone or another thiazolidinedione. Some patients presented with blurred vision or decreased visual acuity, but some patients appear to have been diagnosed on routine ophthalmologic examination. Some patients had peripheral edema at the time macular edema was diagnosed. Some patients had improvement in their macular edema after discontinuation of their thiazolidinedione. It is unknown whether or not there is a causal relationship between pioglitazone and macular edema.[Ref]
Postmarketing reports: New or worsening diabetic macular edema with decreased visual acuity[Ref]
Pioglitazone is associated with dose-related weight gain when used alone or when used in combination therapy. The mechanism of weight gain is unclear, but probably involves a combination of fluid retention and fat accumulation. In pioglitazone monotherapy trials, weight increases of 0.9 kg, 1 kg, and 2.6 kg occurred in patients receiving 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg of pioglitazone daily for 16 to 26 weeks. Pioglitazone in combination with a sulfonylurea for 16 to 24 weeks resulted in weight increases of 2 kg, 3.1 kg, and 4.1 kg, for patients receiving 15 mg, 30 mg, and 45 mg of pioglitazone daily respectively. In the PROactive (Prospective Pioglitazone Clinical Trial in Macrovascular Events) trial, the median change in body weight in patients treated with pioglitazone (n=2560) compared with placebo (n=2581) was -0.5 kg compared to +3.6 kg. The median exposure to drug was 2.7 years.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 14.8%)
Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 13.2%)[Ref]
Laboratory findings have shown decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit with pioglitazone therapy; mean hemoglobin values declined by 2% to 4% in pioglitazone treated patients compared to -1% to 1% in placebo-treated patients. These changes primarily occurred during the first 3 months. Changes may be related to increased plasma volume and not likely to be associated with any clinically significant hematologic effects.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Anemia
Frequency not reported: Decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit
Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, nausea[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, dizziness[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Limb pain
Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia, pain in extremity, back pain
Elevations in CPK were observed during protocol-specified measurement of CPK in pioglitazone clinical trials. Isolated elevation to 10 times the upper limit of normal was observed in 9 patients (0.2%). Elevations resolved without any clinical sequelae and the relationship to drug therapy is unknown.[Ref]
More about glimepiride / pioglitazone
- Check interactions
- Pricing & coupons
- Reviews (2)
- Imprints, shape & color data
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: antidiabetic combinations
- En español
Related treatment guides
1. "Product Information. Duetact (glimepiride-pioglitazone)." Takeda Pharmaceuticals America (2006):
2. US Food and Drug Administration "Updated FDA review concludes that use of type 2 diabetes medicine pioglitazone may be linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM532691.pdf" (2016):
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.