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Avandia "Insulin Sensitizer"

Why do I need Avandia?

Avandia is one of six types of diabetes pills used to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps you achieve your blood glucose targets by making your body more sensitive to insulin.

Remember, the cornerstone of diabetes control is unchanged: it is important to follow a meal plan and to get plenty of physical activity. Diabetes pills are another tool to help you manage your blood glucose.

How does Avandia work?

  • Avandia improves how the body uses insulin.
  • Avandia decreases the amount of glucose released by the liver.
  • Avandia does not cause the body to make more insulin, therefore, when used alone, Avandia does not cause low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). If used in combination with some diabetes medications, hypoglycemia may occur.

Guidelines for use

Avandia can be taken with or without food.

  • This type of medication has been associated with liver abnormalities. Your healthcare provider will check your liver functions prior to your using the medication and every two months for the first year. After the first year of Avandia use, liver function tests should be checked periodically.
  • To further improve your blood glucose control, your healthcare provider may use Avandia in combination with another diabetes pill.

What should I do if I forget to take my Avandia dose on time?

If you normally take Avandia once a day and you forget your dose at the usual time, take it later the same day. If you forget for an entire day, however, do not "double" the dose the next day; just resume taking your Avandia as usual. If you normally take Avandia twice a day and forget a dose, take the next dose as scheduled. Do not "double" the dose.

Can I take Avandia with other medications?

Most medications interact safely with Avandia. Always remind your healthcare provider, however, what medications you are taking and when there is a change in your medications, so that (s)he can make sure the combination is safe. Ask if the new medication will affect your diabetes.

Does Avandia have any risk factors associated with pregnancy?

Avandia may increase the risk of pregnancy in some premenopausal women unless adequate contraception is used. You should discuss contraception with your healthcare provider.

What are the side effects of Avandia?

Side effects of Avandia may include:

  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling or fluid retention

If you experience unexplained nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe fatigue, loss of appetite and/or dark urine, report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.

Who should avoid taking Avandia?

  • Avandia should not be taken by people with a history of liver problems or severe heart problems. If you have a history of these disorders, discuss it with your healthcare team.
  • People with type 1 diabetes will not need Avandia.
  • The safety of using Avandia in pregnant women has not been established. A woman should tell her healthcare provider immediately if she becomes pregnant or is planning to become pregnant so the right medication can be prescribed.

How will I know if Avandia is working?

Check your blood glucose at the times specified by your healthcare provider. If your glucose or A1C is within target most of the time, the dose is working. If not, review the amount and types of food eaten or if you have forgotten to take the prescribed dose of your medication. If the blood glucose remains high, contact your healthcare provider. A change in dose may be needed.

For more information, you may want to purchase our book What You Need to Know About Diabetes - A Short Guide, which can be ordered online.

      Page last updated: January 10, 2013