6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of pioglitazone hydrochloride. 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 (5.7)].
  • – Fatal and nonfatal hepatic failure [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

Postmarketing reports of congestive heart failure have been reported in patients treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride, 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)].


7.1 Strong CYP2C8 Inhibitors

An inhibitor of CYP2C8 (e.g., gemfibrozil) significantly increases the exposure (area under the serum concentration-time curve or AUC) and half-life (t ½ ) of pioglitazone. Therefore, the maximum recommended dose of pioglitazone hydrochloride 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)].

7.2 CYP2C8 Inducers

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 hydrochloride, changes in diabetes treatment may be needed based on clinical response without exceeding the maximum recommended daily dose of 45 mg for pioglitazone hydrochloride [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Limited data with pioglitazone hydrochloride in pregnant women are not sufficient to determine a drug-associated risk for major birth defects or miscarriage. There are risks to the mother and fetus associated with poorly controlled diabetes in pregnancy [see Clinical Considerations].

In animal reproduction studies, no adverse developmental effects were observed when pioglitazone was administered to pregnant rats and rabbits during organogenesis at exposures up to 5-and 35-times the 45 mg clinical dose, respectively, based on body surface area [see Data].

The estimated background risk of major birth defects is 6-10% in women with pre-gestational diabetes with a HbA1c >7 and has been reported to be as high as 20-25% in women with a HbA1c >10. The estimated background risk of miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-associated maternal and/or embryo/fetal risk

Poorly controlled diabetes in pregnancy increases the maternal risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, pre-eclampsia, spontaneous abortions, preterm delivery, still birth and delivery complications. Poorly controlled diabetes increases the fetal risk for major birth defects, still birth, and macrosomia related morbidity.


Animal Data

Pioglitazone administered to pregnant rats during organogenesis did not cause adverse developmental effects at a dose of 20 mg/kg (~5-times the 45 mg clinical dose), but delayed parturition and reduced embryofetal viability at 40 and 80 mg/kg, or ≥9-times the 45 mg clinical dose, by body surface area. In pregnant rabbits administered pioglitazone during organogenesis, no adverse developmental effects were observed at 80 mg/kg (~35-times the 45 mg clinical dose), but reduced embryofetal viability at 160 mg/kg, or ~69-times the 45 mg clinical dose, by body surface area. When pregnant rats received pioglitazone during late gestation and lactation, delayed postnatal development, attributed to decreased body weight, occurred in offspring at maternal doses of 10 mg/kg and above or ≥2 times the 45 mg clinical dose, by body surface area.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

There is no information regarding the presence of pioglitazone in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. Pioglitazone is present in rat milk; however due to species-specific differences in lactation physiology, animal data may not reliably predict drug levels in human milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for pioglitazone hydrochloride and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from pioglitazone hydrochloride or from the underlying maternal condition.

8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

Discuss the potential for unintended pregnancy with premenopausal women as therapy with pioglitazone hydrochloride, like other thiazolidinediones, may result in ovulation in some anovulatory women.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of pioglitazone hydrochloride in pediatric patients have not been established.

Pioglitazone hydrochloride is not recommended for use in pediatric patients based on adverse effects observed in adults, including fluid retention and congestive heart failure, fractures, and urinary bladder tumors [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

A total of 92 patients (15.2%) treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride in the three pooled 16- to 26-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, monotherapy, trials were ≥65 years old and two patients (0.3%) were ≥75 years old. In the two pooled 16- to 24-week add-on to sulfonylurea trials, 201 patients (18.7%) treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride were ≥ 65 years old and 19 (1.8%) were ≥ 75 years old. In the two pooled 16- to 24-week add-on to metformin trials, 155 patients (15.5%) treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride were ≥65 years old and 19 (1.9%) were ≥75 years old. In the two pooled 16- to 24-week add-on to insulin trials, 272 patients (25.4%) treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride were ≥65 years old and 22 (2.1%) were ≥75 years old.

In PROactive, 1068 patients (41.0%) treated with pioglitazone hydrochloride were ≥65 years old and 42 (1.6%) were ≥75 years old.

In pharmacokinetic studies with pioglitazone, no significant differences were observed in pharmacokinetic parameters between elderly and younger patients [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Although clinical experiences have not identified differences in effectiveness and safety between the elderly (≥65 years) and younger patients, these conclusions are limited by small sample sizes for patients ≥75 years old.


During controlled clinical trials, one case of overdose with pioglitazone hydrochloride was reported. A male patient took 120 mg per day for four days, then 180 mg per day for seven days. The patient denied any clinical symptoms during this period.

In the event of overdosage, appropriate supportive treatment should be initiated according to the patient’s clinical signs and symptoms.


Pioglitazone tablets, USP are a thiazolidinedione and an agonist for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma that contains an oral antidiabetic medication: pioglitazone.

Pioglitazone [(±)-5-[[4-[2-(5-ethyl-2-pyridinyl) ethoxy] phenyl] methyl]-2,4-] thiazolidinedione monohydrochloride contains one asymmetric carbon, and the compound is synthesized and used as the racemic mixture. The two enantiomers of pioglitazone interconvert in vivo. No differences were found in the pharmacologic activity between the two enantiomers. The structural formula is as shown:

(click image for full-size original)

Pioglitazone hydrochloride, USP is an odorless white crystalline powder that has a molecular formula of C 19 H 20 N 2 O 3 S•HCl and a molecular weight of 392.90 daltons. It is soluble in N,N dimethylformamide, slightly soluble in anhydrous ethanol, very slightly soluble in acetone and acetonitrile, practically insoluble in water, and insoluble in ether.

Pioglitazone hydrochloride, USP is available as a tablet for oral administration containing 15 mg, 30 mg, or 45 mg of pioglitazone (as the base) formulated with the following excipients: carboxymethylcellulose calcium, hydroxypropylcellulose, lactose monohydrate, and magnesium stearate.

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