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July 28, 2001

Pills for Diabetes

Question from Tiburon, California, USA:

Is Actos safe? I’ve heard that the earlier version caused liver damage.


From: DTeam Staff

Actos [pioglitazone] is the trade name for a drug in a class of medications called thiazolidinediones. These agents lower glucose by improving your body’s response to the circulating insulin levels present. The earliest of the drugs in this class of medications was Rezulin [troglitazone]. The drug was effective in lowering glucose but was associated with liver damage in some patients. Eventually, Rezulin was withdrawn from the market.

The drugs of this class currently on the market have not been associated with a high frequency of liver damage. However, the Food and Drug Association has recommended regular liver enzyme testing with these medications for at least a year. These drugs have also been shown to increase the collection of fluid in the body in patients at risk of heart failure. Of interest, these medications may also have benefits in decreasing the propensity to form clots in blood vessel and the development of hardening of the arteries.