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It is used in combination with diet and exercise to lower blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

How it works

Pioglitazone belongs to class of thiazolidinedione. Pioglitazone decreases insulin resistance in the periphery and in the liver that helps the body make better use of insulin it produces and also decreases the glucose output from the liver.

Common side effects

Numbness, Abnormal liver function tests, Bladder cancer, Bone fracture, Insomnia, Nasal infection, Visual impairment, Weight gain


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Expert advice

Consult your doctor if you have any mental confusion, persistant abdominal pain, dark uine, yellowing of skin/eyes or easy bruising, Check your blood sugar regularly.
Consult your doctor: 
  • If you are allergic to pioglitazone or any of the other ingredients of this medicine. 
  • If you have heart failure or have had heart failure in the past.
  • If you have liver disease.
  • If you have had a complication of diabetes causing rapid weight loss, nausea or vomiting (diabetic ketoacidosis) or a special type of diabetic eye disease with swelling of the back of the eye(macular edema).
  • If you have ever had bladder cancer and blood in urine.
  • If you have cysts on your ovaries (polycystic ovary syndrome).

Frequently asked questions


Q. Does pioglitazone cause hair loss?
No, pioglitazone does not cause hair loss. However, if you experience such side effects, consult your doctor.

Q. Does pioglitazone cause bladder cancer or any other cancer?
In clinical studies, more people who took pioglitazone for more than one year developed bladder cancer as compared to those who did not take pioglitazone. It is recommended to consult your doctor about the risk of taking this medication if you have had bladder cancer in the past or have a history of passing blood in urine. No other cancer type has been linked with use of pioglitazone.

Q. Does pioglitazone cause heart failure?
Pioglitazone can cause fluid retention, which may worsen or precipitate heart failure.

Q. Is pioglitazone safe?
Pioglitazone is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.

Content on this page was last updated on 28 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)