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Actos

Active Substance: pioglitazone hydrochloride
Common Name: pioglitazone
ATC Code: A10BG03
Marketing Authorisation Holder: Takeda Pharma A/S
Active Substance: pioglitazone hydrochloride
Status: Authorised
Authorisation Date: 2000-10-13
Therapeutic Area: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Drugs used in diabetes

Therapeutic Indication

Pioglitazone is indicated in the treatment of type-2 diabetes mellitus:

  • as monotherapy:
    • in patients (particularly overweight patients) inadequately controlled by diet and exercise for whom metformin is inappropriate because of contraindications or intolerance;
  • as dual oral therapy in combination with:
    • metformin, in patients (particularly overweight patients) with insufficient glycaemic control despite maximal tolerated dose of monotherapy with metformin;
    • a sulphonylurea, only in patients who show intolerance to metformin or for whom metformin is contraindicated, with insufficient glycaemic control despite maximal tolerated dose of monotherapy with a sulphonylurea;
  • as triple oral therapy in combination with:
    • metformin and a sulphonylurea, in patients (particularly overweight patients) with insufficient glycaemic control despite dual oral therapy.

Pioglitazone is also indicated for combination with insulin in type-2 diabetes mellitus patients with insufficient glycaemic control on insulin for whom metformin is inappropriate because of contraindications or intolerance.

What is Actos?

Actos is a medicine that contains the active substance pioglitazone. It is available as white, round tablets (15, 30 and 45 mg).

What is Actos used for?

Actos is used to treat type-2 diabetes in adults (aged 18 years or over), particularly those who are overweight. It is used in addition to diet and exercise.

Actos is used on its own in patients for whom metformin (another antidiabetes medicine) is not suitable.

Actos can also be used in combination with metformin in patients who are not satisfactorily controlled on metformin alone, or with a sulphonylurea (another type of antidiabetes medicine) when metformin is not suitable (‘dual therapy’).

Actos can also be used together with both metformin and a sulphonylurea in patients who are not satisfactorily controlled despite dual therapy by mouth (‘triple therapy’).

Actos can also be used together with insulin in patients who are not satisfactorily controlled with insulin alone and cannot take metformin.

The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.

How is Actos used?

The recommended starting dose of Actos is 15 or 30 mg once a day. This dose may need to be increased after one or two weeks to up to 45 mg once a day if better blood glucose (sugar) control is needed. The tablets should be swallowed with water.

Treatment with Actos should be reviewed after three to six months, and discontinued in patients who are not deriving sufficient benefit. At subsequent reviews prescribers should confirm that benefits to patients are maintained.

How does Actos work?

Type-2 diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas does not make enough insulin to control the level of glucose in the blood or when the body is unable to use insulin effectively. The active substance in Actos, pioglitazone, makes cells (fat, muscle and liver) more sensitive to insulin, which means that the body makes better use of the insulin it produces. As a consequence, the blood glucose levels are reduced and this helps to control type-2 diabetes.

How has Actos been studied?

Actos has been compared with placebo (a dummy treatment), metformin and gliclazide (a sulphonylurea) in a number of studies. Some studies also looked at combining Actos with a sulphonylurea, insulin or metformin, or with the combination of metformin and a sulphonylurea. Further studies also looked at long-term use of Actos. Almost 7,000 patients received Actos in all of the studies combined. The studies measured the level of a substance in the blood called glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), which gives an indication of how well the blood glucose is controlled.

What benefit has Actos shown during the studies?

Actos led to a decrease in the level of HbA1c, indicating that blood glucose levels had been reduced at doses of 15, 30 and 45 mg. Actos on its own was shown to be as effective as metformin and gliclazide. Actos also improved the glucose control obtained in type-2 diabetes when it was added to existing treatment with a sulphonylurea, insulin or metformin, or the combination of metformin and a sulphonylurea.

What is the risk associated with Actos?

The most common side effects with Actos (seen in between 1 and 10 patients in 100) are upper-respiratory-tract infection (colds), hypoaesthesia (reduced sense of touch), visual disturbance, bone fractures and increased weight. If Actos is used in combination with other antidiabetes medicines, other side effects may occur. For the full list of all side effects reported with Actos, see the package leaflet.

Actos must not be used in people who are hypersensitive (allergic) to pioglitazone or any of the other ingredients. It must not be used in patients who have problems with their liver, patients who have had heart failure (when the heart does not work as well as it should) or patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (a complication of diabetes). It must also not be used in patients who have or have had bladder cancer or those with blood in the urine that has not yet been investigated.

The doses of Actos may need to be adjusted when given with some other medicines such as gemfibrozil (used to lower cholesterol) or rifampicin (an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis).

Why has Actos been approved?

The CHMP decided that Actos’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be given marketing authorisation.

Other information about Actos

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union, for Actos on 13 October 2000.

For more information about treatment with Actos, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Source: European Medicines Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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