How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Rosiglitazone belongs to the class of medications called thiazolidinediones. It is used to lower the high blood sugar associated with type 2 diabetes. This medication reduces levels of blood glucose (sugar in the blood) by helping insulin to work more effectively and allowing the cells of the body to take glucose in more easily. The full effects of this medication are usually seen within 8 to 12 weeks.

This medication is used to lower blood glucose when diet, exercise, and weight reduction have not lowered blood glucose levels enough on their own. It is used for people who cannot take other oral (taken by mouth) diabetes medications or in cases where these medications are not effective. Lowering and controlling blood glucose levels may help prevent or delay complications of diabetes such as heart disease, kidney disease, or blindness.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Apo-Rosiglitazone is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under rosiglitazone. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

The dose of rosiglitazone will vary according to the circumstances of the person taking it. The average starting dose is 4 mg once daily or 2 mg twice daily. After 8 to 12 weeks, your doctor may increase the dose to 8 mg once daily or 4 mg twice daily, if necessary.

Rosiglitazone may be taken with or without food.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

It is important to follow your doctor's instructions regarding blood glucose monitoring to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the medication.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to rosiglitazone or any ingredients of the medication
  • are pregnant
  • have heart failure or heart problems or a history of heart failure or heart problems
  • have serious liver function impairment

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • back pain
  • constipation
  • headache
  • increased appetite
  • throat or sinus infection
  • weight gain

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blurred vision
  • bone breaks or fractures in the hand, upper arm, or foot
  • chest pain
  • signs of anemia (low red blood cell count), such as:
    • feeling very weak or tired
    • having a fast heartbeat
  • signs of fluid accumulation in the lungs, such as severe shortness of breath that worsens when lying down
  • signs of fluid retention, such as:
    • a rapid increase in weight
    • swelling of the arms, legs, hands, or feet
  • signs of fluid or swelling in the back of the eye, such as blurred vision or decreased vision
  • signs of heart failure, such as:
    • getting tired easily
    • shortness of breath (especially at night)
    • swollen ankles or feet
  • signs of liver problems, such as:
    • dark urine
    • loss of appetite
    • nausea
    • stomach pain
    • tiredness
    • vomiting
    • yellowing of the skin
  • signs of low blood sugar, such as:
    • lack of energy
    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • hunger
    • sweating
    • trembling or shakiness
  • unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting while using oral contraceptives
  • unexplained muscle pain or weakness, often with brownish urine

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a heart attack, such as:
    • fear, anxiety, or denial
    • nausea or indigestion
    • shortness of breath
    • sudden pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, or back
    • sweating or cool, clammy skin
  • signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as:
    • hives
    • shortness of breath
    • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or mouth

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Fluid retention and heart failure: Rosiglitazone can cause fluid buildup in the body, which may lead to heart failure. Your doctor will monitor you for these problems. If you develop fluid buildup or swelling, shortness of breath, fatigue, or excessive weight gain while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. People with a history of heart failure should not take rosiglitazone.

Since the risk of heart failure and fluid buildup increases when rosiglitazone is used with other antidiabetes medications, rosiglitazone should only be used alone or in combination with a sulfonylurea (such as glyburide or gliclazide) OR metformin, but not with other diabetes medications (such as insulin), and not with both a sulfonylurea AND metformin together.

Fractures: Women taking rosiglitazone may be at an increased risk of bone fractures, especially of the upper arm, hand, and foot. Discuss the risk and benefits of using this medication with your doctor.

Heart attack and chest pain: Rosiglitazone can increase the risk of chest pain (angina) and heart attacks. If you have underlying heart disease, or are at a high risk of heart attack, discuss the risks and benefits of using this medication with your doctor. This medication is not recommended for people who take nitrates (e.g., nitroglycerin, isosorbide mononitrate, isosorbide dinitrate), which are used to relieve chest pain.

Liver: Rosiglitazone may cause liver damage. Your doctor will monitor your liver function while you are taking this medication. Report any signs of liver problems to your doctor at once. These signs include:

  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • dark urine
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellow eyes or skin

Loss of blood glucose control: Loss of blood glucose control can occur during times of acute stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery. During these times, your doctor may temporarily stop this medication and use insulin until you have recovered.

Ovulation: Some women using rosiglitazone may start having menstrual periods, even after not having a period due to a medical condition (e.g., polycystic ovary syndrome). As a result, you could get pregnant while taking rosiglitazone. Talk to your doctor about the need for birth control.

Vision: Rosiglitazone may cause swelling of the retina in the eye. If you experience any vision changes while taking rosiglitazone, contact your doctor immediately.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy. Usually insulin is used to control high blood sugars during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if rosiglitazone passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children less than 18 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between rosiglitazone and any of the following:

  • abiraterone
  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • androgens (e.g., testosterone)
  • atypical antipsychotics (e.g., clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
  • beta-blockers (e.g., acebutolol, atenolol, metoprolol)
  • cholestyramine
  • corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone)
  • other diabetes medications (e.g., acarbose, canagliflozin, glyburide, insulin, linagliptin, lixisenatide, metformin)
  • disopyramide
  • diuretics (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide)
  • estrogens (e.g., conjugated estrogen, estradiol, ethinyl estradiol)
  • gemfibrozil
  • glucagon
  • hepatitis C antivirals (e.g., elbasvir, grazoprevir, sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, voxilaprevir)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
  • lanreotide
  • mifepristone
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine)
  • niacin
  • nitrates (e.g., nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate)
  • octreotide
  • pasireotide
  • pegvisomant
  • pregabalin
  • progestins (e.g., dienogest, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, norethindrone)
  • protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., ceritinib, loratinib, nilotinib, sunitinib)
  • proton pump inhibitors (e.g., lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole)
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin)
  • rifampin
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • sirolimus
  • somatostatin acetate
  • somatropin
  • sulfamethoxazole
  • tacrolimus
  • tramadol

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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