, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 333-343
Date: 17 Sep 2012


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▴ Pioglitazone is an orally administered insulin sensitising thiazolidinedione agent that has been developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

▴ Pioglitazone activates the nuclear peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ), which leads to the increased transcription of various proteins regulating glucose and lipid metabolism. These proteins amplify the post-receptor actions of insulin in the liver and peripheral tissues, which leads to improved glycaemic control with no increase in the endogenous secretion of insulin.

▴ In placebo-controlled clinical trials, monotherapy with pioglitazone 15 to 45 mg/day has been shown to decrease blood glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

▴ The addition of pioglitazone 30 mg/day to preexisting therapy with metformin, or of pioglitazone 15 or 30 mg/day to sulphonylurea, insulin or voglibose therapy, has been shown to decrease HbA1c and fasting blood glucose levels significantly in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus.

▴ Pioglitazone has also been associated with improvements in serum lipid profiles in randomised placebo-controlled clinical studies.

▴ The drug has been well tolerated by adult patients of all ages in clinical studies. Oedema has been reported with monotherapy, and pooled data have shown hypoglycaemia in 2 to 15% of patients after the addition of pioglitazone to sulphonylurea or insulin treatment. There have been no reports of hepatotoxicity.