Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test used to measure long-term blood sugar control. For people without diabetes, HbA1c results are usually less than 6 percent, while people with diabetes usually have higher results. In one study, people taking pioglitazone lowered their HbA1c by up to 0.9 percent, on average, while people not taking it increased the HbA1c by 0.7 percent.
Studies have shown that the higher the HbA1c, the greater the chance for developing long-term problems related to diabetes. This includes such problems as:
By getting blood sugar levels under control with pioglitazone, it may be possible to decrease the chances of developing these diabetes complications.
Fasting Blood Sugar
Fasting blood sugar is another way to study the effects of a diabetes medication. In studies, people taking pioglitazone decreased their fasting blood sugar levels by 30 to 56 mg/dL, while people not taking it increased their fasting blood sugar.
People gained about two to nine pounds, on average, while taking pioglitazone (see Actos and Weight Gain). The medication can also have effects on both "good" cholesterol (HDL) and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) (see Lipid Lowering With Actos).
Some general considerations for when and how to take pioglitazone include the following:
- The medication comes in tablet form. It should be taken by mouth once daily.
- You can take pioglitazone with or without food. If the medication bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
- Pioglitazone should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For pioglitazone to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.