Pioglitazone may cause decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit. In placebo-controlled monotherapy trials, mean hemoglobin values declined by 2% to 4% in patients treated with pioglitazone compared with a mean change in hemoglobin of -1% to +1% in placebo-treated patients. These changes primarily occurred within the first 4 to 12 weeks of therapy and remained relatively constant thereafter. These changes may be related to increased plasma volume associated with pioglitazone therapy and are not likely to be associated with any clinically significant hematologic effects.
Vitamin B12 Concentrations
Metformin may lower serum vitamin B12 concentrations. Measurement of hematologic parameters on an annual basis is advised in patients on pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets and any apparent abnormalities should be appropriately investigated and managed [see Warnings and Precautions (5.14)].
During protocol-specified measurement of serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) in pioglitazone clinical trials, an isolated elevation in CPK to greater than 10 times the upper limit of the reference range was noted in nine (0.2%) patients treated with pioglitazone (values of 2150 to 11400 IU/L) and in no comparator-treated patients. Six of these nine patients continued to receive pioglitazone, two patients were noted to have the CPK elevation on the last day of dosing, and one patient discontinued pioglitazone due to the elevation. These elevations resolved without any apparent clinical sequelae. The relationship of these events to pioglitazone therapy is unknown.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of pioglitazone. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is generally not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
- New onset or worsening diabetic macular edema with decreased visual acuity [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].
- Fatal and nonfatal hepatic failure [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
Postmarketing reports of congestive heart failure have been reported in patients treated with pioglitazone, both with and without previously known heart disease and both with and without concomitant insulin administration.
In postmarketing experience, there have been reports of unusually rapid increases in weight and increases in excess of that generally observed in clinical trials. Patients who experience such increases should be assessed for fluid accumulation and volume-related events such as excessive edema and congestive heart failure [see Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
An inhibitor of CYP2C8 (e.g., gemfibrozil) significantly increases the exposure (area under the serum concentration-time curve or AUC) and half-life of pioglitazone. Therefore, the maximum recommended dose of pioglitazone is 15 mg daily if used in combination with gemfibrozil or other strong CYP2C8 inhibitors [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
An inducer of CYP2C8 (e.g., rifampin) may significantly decrease the exposure (AUC) of pioglitazone. Therefore, if an inducer of CYP2C8 is started or stopped during treatment with pioglitazone, changes in diabetes treatment may be needed based on clinical response without exceeding the maximum recommended daily dose of 45 mg for pioglitazone [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Topiramate or other carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g., zonisamide, acetazolamide or dichlorphenamide) frequently decrease serum bicarbonate and induce non-anion gap, hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. Concomitant use of these drugs may induce metabolic acidosis. Use these drugs with caution in patients treated with metformin, as the risk of lactic acidosis may increase.
Cationic drugs (e.g., amiloride, digoxin, morphine, procainamide, quinidine, quinine, ranitidine, triamterene, trimethoprim, or vancomycin) that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion theoretically have the potential for interaction with metformin by competing for common renal tubular transport systems. Although such interactions remain theoretical (except for cimetidine), careful patient monitoring and dose adjustment of pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets and/or the interfering drug is recommended in patients who are taking cationic medications that are excreted via the proximal renal tubular secretory system [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Certain drugs tend to produce hyperglycemia and may lead to loss of glycemic control. These drugs include the thiazides and other diuretics, corticosteroids, phenothiazines, thyroid products, estrogens, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, nicotinic acid, sympathomimetics, calcium channel blockers, and isoniazid. When such drugs are administered to a patient receiving pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets, the patient should be closely observed for loss of blood glucose control. When such drugs are withdrawn from a patient receiving pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets, the patient should be observed closely for hypoglycemia.
Pregnancy Category C.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets or their individual components in pregnant women. Animal studies using pioglitazone show increased rates of post-implantation loss, delayed development, reduced fetal weights, and delayed parturition at doses 10 to 40 times the maximum recommended human dose. Pioglitazone and metformin hydrochloride tablets should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Abnormal blood glucose concentrations during pregnancy are associated with a higher incidence of congenital anomalies, as well as increased neonatal morbidity and mortality. Most experts recommend the use of insulin during pregnancy to maintain blood glucose concentrations as close to normal as possible for patients with diabetes.
In animal reproductive studies, pregnant rats and rabbits received pioglitazone at doses up to approximately 17 (rat) and 40 (rabbit) times the maximum recommended human oral dose (MRHD) based on body surface area (mg/m2); no teratogenicity was observed [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.3)]. Increases in embryotoxicity (increased postimplantation losses, delayed development, reduced fetal weights, and delayed parturition) occurred in rats that received oral doses approximately 10 or more times the MRHD (mg/m2 basis). No functional or behavioral toxicity was observed in rat offspring. When pregnant rats received pioglitazone during late gestation and lactation, delayed postnatal development, attributed to decreased body weight, occurred in rat offspring at oral maternal doses approximately 2 or more times the MRHD (mg/m2 basis). In rabbits, embryotoxicity occurred at oral doses approximately 40 times the MRHD (mg/m2 basis).
Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day. This represents an exposure of about two and six times a human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparisons for rats and rabbits, respectively. However, because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, metformin should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly needed.
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