Actoplus MET XR information, interactions and side effects, ACTOPLUS MET® (pioglitazone hydrochloride and metformin hydrochloride) tablets contain two oral antihyperglycemic drugs used in the management of type 2 diabetes: pioglitazone hydrochloride and metformin hydrochloride. The concomitant use of pioglitazone and metformin has been previously approved based on clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on metformin. Additional efficacy and safety information about pioglitazone and metformin monotherapies may be found in the prescribing information for each individual drug.
Pioglitazone hydrochloride is an oral antihyperglycemic agent that acts primarily by decreasing insulin resistance. Pioglitazone is used in the management of type 2 diabetes. Pharmacological studies indicate that pioglitazone improves sensitivity to insulin in muscle and adipose tissue and inhibits hepatic gluconeogenesis. Pioglitazone improves glycemic control while reducing circulating insulin levels.
Pioglitazone [(±)-5-[[4-[2-(5-ethyl-2-pyridinyl)ethoxy]phenyl]methyl]-2,4-] thiazolidinedione monohydrochloride belongs to a different chemical class and has a different pharmacological action than the sulfonylureas, biguanides, or the α-glucosidase inhibitors. The molecule contains one asymmetric center, and the synthetic compound is a racemate. The two enantiomers of pioglitazone interconvert in vivo. The structural formula is as shown:
Pioglitazone hydrochloride is an odorless white crystalline powder that has a molecular formula of C19H20N2O3S•HCl and a molecular weight of 392.90. 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.
Metformin hydrochloride (N,N -dimethylimidodicarbonimidic diamide hydrochloride) is not chemically or pharmacologically related to any other classes of oral antihyperglycemic agents. Metformin hydrochloride is a white crystalline powder with a molecular formula of C4H11N5•HCl and a molecular weight of 165.62. Metformin hydrochloride is freely soluble in water and is practically insoluble in acetone, ether, and chloroform. The pKa of metformin is 12.4. The pH of a 1% aqueous solution of metformin hydrochloride is 6.68. The structural formula is as shown:
ACTOPLUS MET is available as a tablet for oral administration containing 15 mg pioglitazone hydrochloride (as the base) with 500 mg metformin hydrochloride (15 mg/500 mg) or 15 mg pioglitazone hydrochloride (as the base) with 850 mg metformin hydrochloride (15 mg/850 mg) formulated with the following excipients: povidone USP, microcrystalline cellulose NF, croscarmellose sodium NF, magnesium stearate NF, hypromellose 2910 USP, polyethylene glycol 8000 NF, titanium dioxide USP, and talc USP.
ACTOPLUS MET is a thiazolidinedione and biguanide combination product indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are already treated with a thiazolidinedione and metformin or who have inadequate glycemic control on a thiazolidinedione alone or metformin alone.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
The use of antihyperglycemic therapy in the management of type 2 diabetes should be individualized on the basis of effectiveness and tolerability while not exceeding the maximum recommended daily dose of pioglitazone 45 mg and metformin 2550 mg.
Selecting the starting dose of ACTOPLUS MET should be based on the patient’s current regimen of pioglitazone and/or metformin. After initiation of ACTOPLUS MET or with dose increase, patients should be carefully monitored for adverse events related to fluid retention. ACTOPLUS MET should be given in divided daily doses with meals to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects associated with metformin.
Starting dose for patients inadequately controlled on metformin monotherapy
Based on the usual starting dose of pioglitazone (15-30 mg daily), ACTOPLUS MET may be initiated at either the 15 mg/500 mg or 15 mg/850 mg tablet strength once or twice daily, and gradually titrated after assessing adequacy of therapeutic response.
Starting dose for patients who initially responded to pioglitazone monotherapy and require additional glycemic control
Based on the usual starting doses of metformin (500 mg twice daily or 850 mg daily), ACTOPLUS MET may be initiated at either the 15 mg/500 mg twice daily or 15 mg/850 mg tablet strength once daily, and gradually titrated after assessing adequacy of therapeutic response.
Starting dose for patients switching from combination therapy of pioglitazone plus metformin as separate tablets
ACTOPLUS MET may be initiated with either the 15 mg/500 mg or 15 mg/850 mg tablet strengths based on the dose of pioglitazone and metformin already being taken.
No studies have been performed specifically examining the safety and efficacy of ACTOPLUS MET in patients previously treated with other oral hypoglycemic agents and switched to ACTOPLUS MET. Any change in therapy of type 2 diabetes should be undertaken with care and appropriate monitoring as changes in glycemic control can occur.
Sufficient time should be given to assess adequacy of therapeutic response. Ideally, the response to therapy should be evaluated using A1C, which is a better indicator of long-term glycemic control than FPG alone. A1C reflects glycemia over the past two to three months. In clinical use, it is recommended that patients be treated with ACTOPLUS MET for a period of time adequate to evaluate change in A1C (8-12 weeks) unless glycemic control as measured by FPG deteriorates.
Special Patient Populations
ACTOPLUS MET is not recommended for use in pregnancy or for use in pediatric patients.
The initial and maintenance dosing of ACTOPLUS MET should be conservative in patients with advanced age, due to the potential for decreased renal function in this population. Any dosage adjustment should be based on a careful assessment of renal function. Generally, elderly, debilitated, and malnourished patients should not be titrated to the maximum dose of ACTOPLUS MET. Monitoring of renal function is necessary to aid in prevention of metforminassociated lactic acidosis, particularly in the elderly.
Therapy with ACTOPLUS MET should not be initiated if the patient exhibits clinical evidence of active liver disease or increased serum transaminase levels (ALT greater than 2.5 times the upper limit of normal) at start of therapy. Liver enzyme monitoring is recommended in all patients prior to initiation of therapy with ACTOPLUS MET and periodically thereafter.
Maximum Recommended Dose
ACTOPLUS MET tablets are available as a 15 mg pioglitazone plus 500 mg metformin or a 15 mg pioglitazone plus 850 mg metformin formulation for oral administration. The maximum recommended dose for pioglitazone is 45 mg daily. The maximum recommended daily dose for metformin is 2550 mg in adults.
ACTOPLUS MET is available in 15 mg pioglitazone hydrochloride (as the base)/500 mg metformin hydrochloride and 15 mg pioglitazone hydrochloride (as the base)/850 mg metformin hydrochloride tablets as follows:
15 mg/500 mg tablet: white to off-white, oblong, film-coated tablet with “4833M” on one side, and “15/500” on the other, available in:
Bottles of 60 NDC 64764-155-60
Bottles of 180 NDC 64764-155-18
15 mg/850 mg tablet: white to off-white, oblong, film-coated tablet with “4833M” on one side, and “15/850” on the other, available in:
Bottles of 60 NDC 64764-158-60
Bottles of 180 NDC 64764-158-18
Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F). Keep container tightly closed, and protect from moisture and humidity.
Over 8500 patients with type 2 diabetes have been treated with pioglitazone in randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trials. This includes 2605 high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes treated with pioglitazone from the PROactive clinical trial. Over 6000 patients have been treated for 6 months or longer, and over 4500 patients for one year or longer. Over 3000 patients have received pioglitazone for at least 2 years.
The most common adverse events reported in at least 5% of patients in the controlled 16-week clinical trial between placebo plus metformin and pioglitazone 30 mg plus metformin were upper respiratory tract infection (15.6% and 15.5%), diarrhea (6.3% and 4.8%), combined edema/peripheral edema (2.5% and 6.0%) and headache (1.9% and 6.0%), respectively.
The incidence and type of adverse events reported in at least 5% of patients in any combined treatment group from the 24-week study comparing pioglitazone 30 mg plus metformin and pioglitazone 45 mg plus metformin are shown in Table 4; the rate of adverse events resulting in study discontinuation between the two treatment groups was 7.8% and 7.7%, respectively.
Table 4: Adverse Events That Occurred in ≥ 5% of Patients in Any Treatment Group During the 24-Week Study
|Pioglitazone 30 mg + metformin
N=411 n (%)
|Pioglitazone 45 mg + metformin
N=416 n (%)
|Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
|Urinary Tract Infection
|Edema Lower Limb
Most clinical adverse events were similar between groups treated with pioglitazone in combination with metformin and those treated with pioglitazone monotherapy. Other adverse events reported in at least 5% of patients in controlled clinical trials between placebo and pioglitazone monotherapy included myalgia (2.7% and 5.4%), tooth disorder (2.3% and 5.3%), diabetes mellitus aggravated (8.1% and 5.1%) and pharyngitis (0.8% and 5.1%), respectively.
In U.S. double-blind studies, anemia was reported in ≤ 2% of patients treated with pioglitazone plus metformin.
In monotherapy studies, edema was reported for 4.8% (with doses from 7.5 mg to 45 mg) of patients treated with pioglitazone versus 1.2% of placebo-treated patients. Most of these events were considered mild or moderate in intensity.
Prospective Pioglitazone Clinical Trial In Macrovascular Events (PROactive)
In PROactive, 5238 patients with type 2 diabetes and a prior history of macrovascular disease were treated with ACTOS (n=2605), force-titrated up to 45 mg daily, or placebo (n=2633), in addition to standard of care. Almost all subjects (95%) were receiving cardiovascular medications (beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, diuretics, aspirin, statins, fibrates). Patients had a mean age of 61.8 years, mean duration of diabetes 9.5 years, and mean A1C 8.1%. Average duration of follow-up was 34.5 months. The primary objective of this trial was to examine the effect of ACTOS on mortality and macrovascular morbidity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who were at high risk for macrovascular events. The primary efficacy variable was the time to the first occurrence of any event in the cardiovascular composite endpoint (see table 5 below). Although there was no statistically significant difference between ACTOS and placebo for the 3-year incidence of a first event within this composite, there was no increase in mortality or in total macrovascular events with ACTOS.
Table 5: Number of First and Total Events for Each Component within the Cardiovascular Composite Endpoint
|First Events (N)
||Total events (N)
||First Events (N)
||Total events (N)
|(Major leg amputation
Postmarketing reports of new onset or worsening diabetic macular edema with decreased visual acuity have also been received.
Hematologic: Pioglitazone may cause decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit. The fall in hemoglobin and hematocrit with pioglitazone appears to be dose related. Across all clinical studies, mean hemoglobin values declined by 2% to 4% in patients treated with pioglitazone. These changes generally occurred within the first 4 to 12 weeks of therapy and remained relatively stable thereafter. These changes may be related to increased plasma volume associated with pioglitazone therapy and have rarely been associated with any significant hematologic clinical effects.
In controlled clinical trials of metformin at 29 weeks’ duration, a decrease to subnormal levels of previously normal serum vitamin B12 levels, without clinical manifestations, was observed in approximately 7% of patients. Such decrease, possibly due to interference with B12 absorption from the B12 -intrinsic factor complex, is, however, very rarely associated with anemia and appears to be rapidly reversible with discontinuation of metformin or vitamin B12 supplementation.
Serum Transaminase Levels: During all clinical studies in the U.S., 14 of 4780 (0.30%) patients treated with pioglitazone had ALT values ≥ 3 times the upper limit of normal during treatment. All patients with follow-up values had reversible elevations in ALT. In the population of patients treated with pioglitazone, mean values for bilirubin, AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, and GGT were decreased at the final visit compared with baseline. Fewer than 0.9% of patients treated with pioglitazone were withdrawn from clinical trials in the U.S. due to abnormal liver function tests.
In pre-approval clinical trials, there were no cases of idiosyncratic drug reactions leading to hepatic failure.
CPK Levels: During required laboratory testing in clinical trials with pioglitazone, sporadic, transient elevations in creatine phosphokinase levels (CPK) were observed. An isolated elevation to greater than 10 times the upper limit of normal was noted in 9 patients (values of 2150 to 11400 IU/L). Six of these patients continued to receive pioglitazone, two patients had completed receiving study medication at the time of the elevated value and one patient discontinued study medication due to the elevation. These elevations resolved without any apparent clinical sequelae. The relationship of these events to pioglitazone therapy is unknown.
In vivo drug-drug interaction studies have suggested that pioglitazone may be a weak inducer of CYP450 isoform 3A4 substrate.
An enzyme inhibitor of CYP2C8 (such as gemfibrozil) may significantly increase the AUC of pioglitazone and an enzyme inducer of CYP2C8 (such as rifampin) may significantly decrease the AUC of pioglitazone. Therefore, if an inhibitor or inducer of CYP2C8 is started or stopped during treatment with pioglitazone, changes in diabetes treatment may be needed based on clinical response.
Furosemide: A single-dose, metformin-furosemide drug interaction study in healthy subjects demonstrated that pharmacokinetic parameters of both compounds were affected by coadministration. Furosemide increased the metformin plasma and blood Cmax by 22% and blood AUC by 15%, without any significant change in metformin renal clearance. When administered with metformin, the Cmax and AUC of furosemide were 31% and 12% smaller, respectively, than when administered alone and the terminal half-life was decreased by 32%, without any significant change in furosemide renal clearance. No information is available about the interaction of metformin and furosemide when co-administered chronically.
Nifedipine: A single-dose, metformin-nifedipine drug interaction study in normal healthy volunteers demonstrated that co-administration of nifedipine increased plasma metformin Cmax and AUC by 20% and 9%, respectively and increased the amount excreted in the urine. Tmax and half-life were unaffected. Nifedipine appears to enhance the absorption of metformin. Metformin had minimal effects on nifedipine.
Cationic Drugs: Cationic drugs (e.g., amiloride, digoxin, morphine, procainamide, quinidine, quinine, ranitidine, triamterene, trimethoprim, and vancomycin) that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion theoretically have the potential for interaction with metformin by competing for common renal tubular transport systems. Such interaction between metformin and oral cimetidine has been observed in normal healthy volunteers in both single-and multiple-dose, metformin-cimetidine drug interaction studies with a 60% increase in peak metformin plasma and whole blood concentrations and a 40% increase in plasma and whole blood metformin AUC. There was no change in elimination half-life in the single-dose study. Metformin had no effect on cimetidine pharmacokinetics. Although such interactions remain theoretical (except for cimetidine), careful patient monitoring and dose adjustment of ACTOPLUS MET and/or the interfering drug is recommended in patients who are taking cationic medications that are excreted via the proximal renal tubular secretory system.
Other: Certain drugs tend to produce hyperglycemia and may lead to loss of glycemic control. These drugs include thiazides and other diuretics, corticosteroids, phenothiazines, thyroid products, estrogens, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, nicotinic acid, sympathomimetics, calcium channel blocking drugs, and isoniazid. When such drugs are administered to a patient receiving ACTOPLUS MET, the patient should be closely observed to maintain adequate glycemic control.
In healthy volunteers, the pharmacokinetics of metformin and propranolol and metformin and ibuprofen were not affected when co-administered in single-dose interaction studies.
Metformin is negligibly bound to plasma proteins and is therefore, less likely to interact with highly protein-bound drugs such as salicylates, sulfonamides, chloramphenicol and probenecid.
Lactic Acidosis: Lactic acidosis is a rare, but serious, metabolic complication that can occur due to metformin accumulation during treatment with ACTOPLUS MET (pioglitazone hydrochloride and metformin hydrochloride) tablets; when it occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50% of cases. Lactic acidosis may also occur in association with a number of pathophysiologic conditions, including diabetes mellitus, and whenever there is significant tissue hypoperfusion and hypoxemia. Lactic acidosis is characterized by elevated blood lactate levels ( > 5 mmol/L), decreased blood pH, electrolyte disturbances with an increased anion gap, and an increased lactate/pyruvate ratio. When metformin is implicated as the cause of lactic acidosis, metformin plasma levels > 5 μg/mL are generally found.
The reported incidence of lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin hydrochloride is very low (approximately 0.03 cases/1000 patient-years, with approximately 0.015 fatal cases/1000 patient-years). In more than 20,000 patient-years exposure to metformin in clinical trials, there were no reports of lactic acidosis. Reported cases have occurred primarily in diabetic patients with significant renal insufficiency, including both intrinsic renal disease and renal hypoperfusion, often in the setting of multiple concomitant medical/surgical problems and multiple concomitant medications. Patients with congestive heart failure requiring pharmacologic management, in particular those with unstable or acute congestive heart failure who are at risk of hypoperfusion and hypoxemia, are at increased risk of lactic acidosis. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient’s age. The risk of lactic acidosis may, therefore, be significantly decreased by regular monitoring of renal function in patients taking metformin and by use of the minimum effective dose of metformin. In particular, treatment of the elderly should be accompanied by careful monitoring of renal function. Metformin treatment should not be initiated in patients ≥ 80 years of age unless measurement of creatinine clearance demonstrates that renal function is not reduced, as these patients are more susceptible to developing lactic acidosis. In addition, metformin should be promptly withheld in the presence of any condition associated with hypoxemia, dehydration, or sepsis. Because impaired hepatic function may significantly limit the ability to clear lactate, metformin should generally be avoided in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease. Patients should be cautioned against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, when taking metformin, since alcohol potentiates the effects of metformin hydrochloride on lactate metabolism. In addition, metformin should be temporarily discontinued prior to any intravascular radiocontrast study and for any surgical procedure.
The onset of lactic acidosis often is subtle, and accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress. There may be associated hypothermia, hypotension, and resistant bradyarrhythmias with more marked acidosis. The patient and the patient’s physician must be aware of the possible importance of such symptoms and the patient should be instructed to notify the physician immediately if they occur. Metformin should be withdrawn until the situation is clarified. Serum electrolytes, ketones, blood glucose, and, if indicated, blood pH, lactate levels, and even blood metformin levels may be useful. Once a patient is stabilized on any dose level of metformin, gastrointestinal symptoms, which are common during initiation of therapy, are unlikely to be drug related. Later occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms could be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease.
Levels of fasting venous plasma lactate above the upper limit of normal but less than 5 mmol/L in patients taking metformin do not necessarily indicate impending lactic acidosis and may be explainable by other mechanisms, such as poorly controlled diabetes or obesity, vigorous physical activity, or technical problems in sample handling.
Lactic acidosis should be suspected in any diabetic patient with metabolic acidosis lacking evidence of ketoacidosis (ketonuria and ketonemia).
Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital setting. In a patient with lactic acidosis who is taking metformin, the drug should be discontinued immediately and general supportive measures promptly instituted. Because metformin hydrochloride is dialyzable (with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions), prompt hemodialysis is recommended to correct the acidosis and remove the accumulated metformin. Such management often results in prompt reversal of symptoms and recovery.
Cardiac Failure and Other Cardiac Effects: Pioglitazone, like other thiazolidinediones, can cause fluid retention when used alone or in combination with other antihyperglycemic agents, including insulin. Fluid retention may lead to or exacerbate heart failure. Patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of heart failure. If these signs and symptoms develop, the heart failure should be managed according to current standards of care. Furthermore, discontinuation or dose reduction of pioglitazone must be considered. Patients with NYHA Class III and IV cardiac status were not studied during pre-approval clinical trials and pioglitazone is not recommended in these patients.
In one 16-week U.S. double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 566 patients with type 2 diabetes, pioglitazone at doses of 15 mg and 30 mg in combination with insulin was compared to insulin therapy alone. This trial included patients with long-standing diabetes and a high prevalence of pre-existing medical conditions as follows: arterial hypertension (57.2%), peripheral neuropathy (22.6%), coronary heart disease (19.6%), retinopathy (13.1%), myocardial infarction (8.8%), vascular disease (6.4%), angina pectoris (4.4%), stroke and/or transient ischemic attack (4.1%), and congestive heart failure (2.3%).
In this study two of the 191 patients receiving 15 mg pioglitazone plus insulin (1.1%) and two of the 188 patients receiving 30 mg pioglitazone plus insulin (1.1%) developed congestive heart failure compared with none of the 187 patients on insulin therapy alone. All four of these patients had previous histories of cardiovascular conditions including coronary artery disease, previous CABG procedures, and myocardial infarction. In a 24-week dose-controlled study in which pioglitazone was co-administered with insulin, 0.3% of patients (1/345) on 30 mg and 0.9% (3/345) of patients on 45 mg reported CHF as a serious adverse event.
Analysis of data from these studies did not identify specific factors that predict increased risk of congestive heart failure on combination therapy with insulin.
In type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure (systolic dysfunction)
A 24-week post-marketing safety study was performed to compare ACTOS (n=262) to glyburide (n=256) in uncontrolled diabetic patients (mean A1C 8.8% at baseline) with NYHA Class II and III heart failure and ejection fraction less than 40% (mean EF 30% at baseline). Over the course of the study, overnight hospitalization for congestive heart failure was reported in 9.9% of patients on ACTOS compared to 4.7% of patients on glyburide with a treatment difference observed from 6 weeks. This adverse event associated with ACTOS was more marked in patients using insulin at baseline and in patients over 64 years of age. No difference in cardiovascular mortality between the treatment groups was observed.
ACTOS should be initiated at the lowest approved dose if it is prescribed for patients with type 2 diabetes and systolic heart failure (NYHA Class II). If subsequent dose escalation is necessary, the dose should be increased gradually only after several months of treatment with careful monitoring for weight gain, edema, or signs and symptoms of CHF exacerbation.
Prospective Pioglitazone Clinical Trial In Macrovascular Events (PROactive)
In PROactive, 5238 patients with type 2 diabetes and a prior history of macrovascular disease were treated with ACTOS (n=2605), force-titrated up to 45 mg once daily, or placebo (n=2633). The percentage of patients who had an event of serious heart failure was higher for patients treated with ACTOS (5.7%, n=149) than for patients treated with placebo (4.1%, n=108). The incidence of death subsequent to a report of serious heart failure was 1.5% (n=40) in patients treated with ACTOS and 1.4% (n=37) in placebo-treated patients. In patients treated with an insulin-containing regimen at baseline, the incidence of serious heart failure was 6.3% (n=54/864) with ACTOS and 5.2% (n=47/896) with placebo. For those patients treated with a sulfonylurea-containing regimen at baseline, the incidence of serious heart failure was 5.8% (n=94/1624) with ACTOS and 4.4% (n=71/1626) with placebo.
Pioglitazone exerts its antihyperglycemic effect only in the presence of insulin. Therefore, ACTOPLUS MET should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes or for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Hypoglycemia: Patients receiving pioglitazone in combination with insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents may be at risk for hypoglycemia, and a reduction in the dose of the concomitant agent may be necessary.
Cardiovascular: In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials that excluded patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III and IV cardiac status, the incidence of serious cardiac adverse events related to volume expansion was not increased in patients treated with pioglitazone as monotherapy or in combination with sulfonylureas or metformin vs. placebo-treated patients. In insulin combination studies, a small number of patients with a history of previously existing cardiac disease developed congestive heart failure when treated with pioglitazone in combination with insulin. Patients with NYHA Class III and IV cardiac status were not studied in pre-approval pioglitazone clinical trials. Pioglitazone is not indicated in patients with NYHA Class III or IV cardiac status.
In postmarketing experience with pioglitazone, cases of congestive heart failure have been reported in patients both with and without previously known heart disease.
Edema: In all U.S. clinical trials with pioglitazone, edema was reported more frequently in patients treated with pioglitazone than in placebo-treated patients and appears to be dose related. In postmarketing experience, reports of initiation or worsening of edema have been received. Since thiazolidinediones, including pioglitazone, can cause fluid retention, which can exacerbate or lead to congestive heart failure, ACTOPLUS MET should be used with caution in patients at risk for heart failure. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of heart failure.
Weight Gain: Dose related weight gain was observed with pioglitazone alone and in combination with other hypoglycemic agents (Table 3). The mechanism of weight gain is unclear but probably involves a combination of fluid retention and fat accumulation.
Table 3: Weight Changes (kg) from Baseline during Double-Blind Clinical Trials with Pioglitazone
||pioglitazone 15 mg
||pioglitazone 30 mg
||pioglitazone 45 mg
|Median (25th/75th percentile)
||Median (25th/75th percentile)
||Median (25th/75th percentile)
||Median (25th/75th percentile)
||n = 79
||n = 79
|Note: Trial durations of 16 to 26 weeks
Urinary Bladder Tumors: Tumors were observed in the urinary bladder of male rats in the two-year carcinogenicity study. In two 3-year trials in which ACTOS was compared to placebo or glyburide, there were 16/3656 (0.44%) reports of bladder cancer in patients taking ACTOS compared to 5/3679 (0.14%) in patients not taking ACTOS. After excluding patients in whom exposure to study drug was less than one year at the time of diagnosis of bladder cancer, there were six (0.16%) cases on ACTOS and two (0.05%) cases on placebo.
A five-year interim report of an ongoing 10-year observational cohort study found a nonsignificant increase in the risk for bladder cancer in subjects ever exposed to ACTOS, compared to subjects never exposed to ACTOS (HR 1.2 [95% CI 0.9 – 1.5]). Compared to never exposure, a duration of ACTOS therapy longer than 12 months was associated with an increase in risk (HR 1.4 [95% CI 0.9 – 2.1]), which reached statistical significance after more than 24 months of ACTOS use (HR 1.4 [95% CI 1.03 – 2.0]). Interim results from this study suggested that taking ACTOS longer than 12 months increased the relative risk of developing bladder cancer in any given year by 40% which equates to an absolute increase of 3 cases in 10,000 (from approximately 7 in 10,000 [without ACTOS] to approximately 10 in 10,000 [with ACTOS]).
There are insufficient data to determine whether pioglitazone is a tumor promoter for urinary bladder tumors. Consequently, ACTOPLUS MET should not be used in patients with active bladder cancer and the benefits of glycemic control versus unknown risks for cancer recurrence with ACTOPLUS MET should be considered in patients with a prior history of bladder cancer.
Ovulation: Therapy with pioglitazone, like other thiazolidinediones, may result in ovulation in some premenopausal anovulatory women. Thus, adequate contraception in premenopausal women should be recommended while taking ACTOPLUS MET. This possible effect has not been investigated in clinical studies so the frequency of this occurrence is not known.
Hematologic: Across all clinical studies with pioglitazone, mean hemoglobin values declined by 2% to 4% in patients treated with pioglitazone. 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 and have rarely been associated with any significant hematologic clinical effects. ACTOPLUS MET may cause decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit.
Hepatic Effects: In pre-approval clinical studies worldwide, over 4500 subjects were treated with pioglitazone. In U.S. clinical studies, over 4700 patients with type 2 diabetes received pioglitazone. There was no evidence of drug-induced hepatotoxicity or elevation of ALT levels in the clinical studies.
During pre-approval placebo-controlled clinical trials in the U.S., a total of 4 of 1526 (0.26%) patients treated with pioglitazone and 2 of 793 (0.25%) placebo-treated patients had ALT values ≥ 3 times the upper limit of normal. The ALT elevations in patients treated with pioglitazone were reversible and were not clearly related to therapy with pioglitazone.
In postmarketing experience with pioglitazone, reports of hepatitis and of hepatic enzyme elevations to 3 or more times the upper limit of normal have been received. Very rarely, these reports have involved hepatic failure with and without fatal outcome, although causality has not been established.
Pending the availability of the results of additional large, long-term controlled clinical trials and additional postmarketing safety data on pioglitazone, it is recommended that patients treated with ACTOPLUS MET undergo periodic monitoring of liver enzymes.
Serum ALT (alanine aminotransferase) levels should be evaluated prior to the initiation of therapy with ACTOPLUS MET in all patients and periodically thereafter per the clinical judgment of the health care professional. Liver function tests should also be obtained for patients if symptoms suggestive of hepatic dysfunction occur, e.g., nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, anorexia, or dark urine. The decision whether to continue the patient on therapy with ACTOPLUS MET should be guided by clinical judgment pending laboratory evaluations. If jaundice is observed, drug therapy should be discontinued.
Therapy with ACTOPLUS MET should not be initiated if the patient exhibits clinical evidence of active liver disease or the ALT levels exceed 2.5 times the upper limit of normal. Patients with mildly elevated liver enzymes (ALT levels at 1 to 2.5 times the upper limit of normal) at baseline or any time during therapy with ACTOPLUS MET should be evaluated to determine the cause of the liver enzyme elevation. Initiation or continuation of therapy with ACTOPLUS MET in patients with mildly elevated liver enzymes should proceed with caution and include appropriate clinical follow-up which may include more frequent liver enzyme monitoring. If serum transaminase levels are increased (ALT > 2.5 times the upper limit of normal), liver function tests should be evaluated more frequently until the levels return to normal or pretreatment values. If ALT levels exceed 3 times the upper limit of normal, the test should be repeated as soon as possible. If ALT levels remain > 3 times the upper limit of normal or if the patient is jaundiced, ACTOPLUS MET therapy should be discontinued.
Macular Edema: Macular edema has been reported in post-marketing experience in diabetic patients who were taking pioglitazone or another thiazolidinedione. Some patients presented with blurred vision or decreased visual acuity, but some patients appear to have been diagnosed on routine ophthalmologic examination. Some patients had peripheral edema at the time macular edema was diagnosed. Some patients had improvement in their macular edema after discontinuation of their thiazolidinedione. It is unknown whether or not there is a causal relationship between pioglitazone and macular edema. Patients with diabetes should have regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist, per the Standards of Care of the American Diabetes Association. Additionally, any diabetic who reports any kind of visual symptom should be promptly referred to an ophthalmologist, regardless of the patient’s underlying medications or other physical findings.
Fractures: In a randomized trial (PROactive) in patients with type 2 diabetes (mean duration of diabetes 9.5 years), an increased incidence of bone fracture was noted in female patients taking pioglitazone. During a mean follow-up of 34.5 months, the incidence of bone fracture in females was 5.1% (44/870) for pioglitazone versus 2.5% (23/905) for placebo. This difference was noted after the first year of treatment and remained during the course of the study. The majority of fractures observed in female patients were nonvertebral fractures including lower limb and distal upper limb. No increase in fracture rates was observed in men treated with pioglitazone 1.7% (30/1735) versus placebo 2.1% (37/1728). The risk of fracture should be considered in the care of patients, especially female patients, treated with pioglitazone and attention should be given to assessing and maintaining bone health according to current standards of care.
Macrovascular Outcomes: There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with ACTOPLUS MET or any other anti-diabetic drug.
Monitoring of renal function: Metformin is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of metformin accumulation and lactic acidosis increases with the degree of impairment of renal function. Thus, patients with serum creatinine levels above the upper limit of normal for their age should not receive ACTOPLUS MET. In patients with advanced age, ACTOPLUS MET should be carefully titrated to establish the minimum dose for adequate glycemic effect, because aging is associated with reduced renal function. In elderly patients, particularly those ≥ 80 years of age, renal function should be monitored regularly and, generally, ACTOPLUS MET should not be titrated to the maximum dose of the metformin component.
Before initiation of therapy with ACTOPLUS MET and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed and verified as normal. In patients in whom development of renal dysfunction is anticipated, renal function should be assessed more frequently and ACTOPLUS MET discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.
Use of concomitant medications that may affect renal function or metformin disposition: Concomitant medication(s) that may affect renal function or result in significant hemodynamic change or may interfere with the disposition of metformin, such as cationic drugs that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion, should be used with caution.
Radiologic studies involving the use of intravascular iodinated contrast materials (for example, intravenous urogram, intravenous cholangiography, angiography, and computed tomography (CT) scans with intravascular contrast materials): Intravascular contrast studies with iodinated materials can lead to acute alteration of renal function and have been associated with lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin. Therefore, in patients in whom any such study is planned, ACTOPLUS MET should be temporarily discontinued at the time of or prior to the procedure, and withheld for 48 hours subsequent to the procedure and reinstituted only after renal function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal.
Hypoxic states: Cardiovascular collapse (shock) from whatever cause, acute congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and other conditions characterized by hypoxemia have been associated with lactic acidosis and may also cause prerenal azotemia. When such events occur in patients receiving ACTOPLUS MET therapy, the drug should be promptly discontinued.
Surgical procedures: Use of ACTOPLUS MET should be temporarily suspended for any surgical procedure (except minor procedures not associated with restricted intake of food and fluids) and should not be restarted until the patient’s oral intake has resumed and renal function has been evaluated as normal.
Alcohol intake: Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Patients, therefore, should be warned against excessive alcohol intake, acute or chronic, while receiving ACTOPLUS MET.
Impaired hepatic function: Since impaired hepatic function has been associated with some cases of lactic acidosis, ACTOPLUS MET should generally be avoided in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease.
Vitamin B12 levels: In controlled clinical trials of metformin at 29 weeks’ duration, a decrease to subnormal levels of previously normal serum vitamin B12 levels, without clinical manifestations, was observed in approximately 7% of patients. Such decrease, possibly due to interference with B12 absorption from the B12 -intrinsic factor complex, is, however, very rarely associated with anemia and appears to be rapidly reversible with discontinuation of metformin or vitamin B12 supplementation. Measurement of hematologic parameters on an annual basis is advised in patients on ACTOPLUS MET and any apparent abnormalities should be appropriately investigated and managed. Certain individuals (those with inadequate vitamin B12 or calcium intake or absorption) appear to be predisposed to developing subnormal vitamin B12 levels. In these patients, routine serum vitamin B12 measurements at two-to three-year intervals may be useful.
Change in clinical status of patients with previously controlled type 2 diabetes: A patient with type 2 diabetes previously well-controlled on ACTOPLUS MET who develops laboratory abnormalities or clinical illness (especially vague and poorly defined illness) should be evaluated promptly for evidence of ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis. Evaluation should include serum electrolytes and ketones, blood glucose and, if indicated, blood pH, lactate, pyruvate and metformin levels. If acidosis of either form occurs, ACTOPLUS MET must be stopped immediately and other appropriate corrective measures initiated.
Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin alone under usual circumstances of use, but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with hypoglycemic agents (such as sulfonylureas or insulin) or ethanol. Elderly, debilitated or malnourished patients and those with adrenal or pituitary insufficiency or alcohol intoxication are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemic effects. Hypoglycemia may be difficult to recognize in the elderly and in people who are taking beta-adrenergic blocking drugs.
Loss of control of blood glucose: When a patient stabilized on any diabetic regimen is exposed to stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, a temporary loss of glycemic control may occur. At such times, it may be necessary to withhold ACTOPLUS MET and temporarily administer insulin. ACTOPLUS MET may be reinstituted after the acute episode is resolved.
FPG and A1C measurements should be performed periodically to monitor glycemic control and therapeutic response to ACTOPLUS MET.
Liver enzyme monitoring is recommended prior to initiation of therapy with ACTOPLUS MET in all patients and periodically thereafter per the clinical judgment of the health care professional.
Initial and periodic monitoring of hematologic parameters (e.g., hemoglobin/hematocrit and red blood cell indices) and renal function (serum creatinine) should be performed, at least on an annual basis. While megaloblastic anemia has rarely been seen with metformin therapy, if this is suspected, Vitamin B12 deficiency should be excluded.
Information for Patients
Patients should be instructed regarding the importance of adhering to dietary instructions, a regular exercise program, and regular testing of blood glucose and A1C. During periods of stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, medication requirements may change and patients should be reminded to seek medical advice promptly.
The risks of lactic acidosis, its symptoms and conditions that predispose to its development, as noted in the WARNINGS, Metformin hydrochloride and PRECAUTIONS, General: Metformin hydrochloride sections, should be explained to patients. Patients should be advised to discontinue ACTOPLUS MET immediately and to promptly notify their health care professional if unexplained hyperventilation, myalgia, malaise, unusual somnolence or other nonspecific symptoms occur. Gastrointestinal symptoms are common during initiation of metformin treatment and may occur during initiation of ACTOPLUS MET therapy; however, patients should consult with their physician if they develop unexplained symptoms. Although gastrointestinal symptoms that occur after stabilization are unlikely to be drug related, such an occurrence of symptoms should be evaluated to determine if it may be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease.
Patients should be counseled against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, while receiving ACTOPLUS MET.
Patients who experience an unusually rapid increase in weight or edema or who develop shortness of breath or other symptoms of heart failure while on ACTOPLUS MET should immediately report these symptoms to their physician.
Patients should be told that blood tests for liver function will be performed prior to the start of therapy and periodically thereafter per the clinical judgment of the health care professional. Patients should be told to seek immediate medical advice for unexplained nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, anorexia, or dark urine.
Patients should be informed about the importance of regular testing of renal function and hematologic parameters when receiving treatment with ACTOPLUS MET.
Therapy with a thiazolidinedione, which is the active pioglitazone component of the ACTOPLUS MET tablet, may result in ovulation in some premenopausal anovulatory women. As a result, these patients may be at an increased risk for pregnancy while taking ACTOPLUS MET. Thus, adequate contraception in premenopausal women should be recommended. This possible effect has not been investigated in clinical studies so the frequency of this occurrence is not known.
Combination antihyperglycemic therapy may cause hypoglycemia. When initiating ACTOPLUS MET, the risks of hypoglycemia, its symptoms and treatment, and conditions that predispose to its development should be explained to patients.
Patients should be told to promptly report any sign of macroscopic hematuria or other symptoms such as dysuria or urinary urgency that develop or increase during treatment as these may be due to bladder cancer.
Patients should be told to take ACTOPLUS MET as prescribed and instructed that any change in dosing should only be done if directed by their physician.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
No animal studies have been conducted with ACTOPLUS MET. The following data are based on findings in studies performed with pioglitazone or metformin individually.
A two-year carcinogenicity study was conducted in male and female rats at oral doses up to 63 mg/kg (approximately 14 times the maximum recommended human oral dose of 45 mg based on mg/m²). Drug-induced tumors were not observed in any organ except for the urinary bladder. Benign and/or malignant transitional cell neoplasms were observed in male rats at 4 mg/kg/day and above (approximately equal to the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²). A two-year carcinogenicity study was conducted in male and female mice at oral doses up to 100 mg/kg/day (approximately 11 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²). No drug-induced tumors were observed in any organ.
Pioglitazone HCl was not mutagenic in a battery of genetic toxicology studies, including the Ames bacterial assay, a mammalian cell forward gene mutation assay (CHO/HPRT and AS52/XPRT), an in vitro cytogenetics assay using CHL cells, an unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, and an in vivo micronucleus assay.
No adverse effects upon fertility were observed in male and female rats at oral doses up to 40 mg/kg pioglitazone HCl daily prior to and throughout mating and gestation (approximately 9 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²).
Long-term carcinogenicity studies have been performed in rats (dosing duration of 104 weeks) and mice (dosing duration of 91 weeks) at doses up to and including 900 mg/kg/day and 1500 mg/kg/day, respectively. These doses are both approximately four times a human daily dose of 2000 mg of the metformin component of ACTOPLUS MET based on body surface area comparisons. No evidence of carcinogenicity with metformin was found in either male or female mice. Similarly, there was no tumorigenic potential observed with metformin in male rats. There was, however, an increased incidence of benign stromal uterine polyps in female rats treated with 900 mg/kg/day.
There was no evidence of mutagenic potential of metformin in the following in vitro tests: Ames test (S. typhimurium ), gene mutation test (mouse lymphoma cells), or chromosomal aberrations test (human lymphocytes). Results in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test were also negative.
Fertility of male or female rats was unaffected by metformin when administered at doses as high as 600 mg/kg/day, which is approximately three times the maximum recommended human daily dose of the metformin component of ACTOPLUS MET based on body surface area comparisons.
Heart enlargement has been observed in mice (100 mg/kg), rats (4 mg/kg and above) and dogs (3 mg/kg) treated orally with the pioglitazone HCl component of ACTOPLUS MET (approximately 11, 1, and 2 times the maximum recommended human oral dose for mice, rats, and dogs, respectively, based on mg/m²). In a one-year rat study, drug-related early death due to apparent heart dysfunction occurred at an oral dose of 160 mg/kg/day (approximately 35 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²). Heart enlargement was seen in a 13-week study in monkeys at oral doses of 8.9 mg/kg and above (approximately 4 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²), but not in a 52-week study at oral doses up to 32 mg/kg (approximately 13 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²).
Pregnancy Category C
Because current information strongly suggests that abnormal blood glucose levels during pregnancy are associated with a higher incidence of congenital anomalies, as well as increased neonatal morbidity and mortality, most experts recommend that insulin be used during pregnancy to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. ACTOPLUS MET should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women with ACTOPLUS MET or its individual components. No animal studies have been conducted with the combined products in ACTOPLUS MET. The following data are based on findings in studies performed with pioglitazone or metformin individually.
Pioglitazone was not teratogenic in rats at oral doses up to 80 mg/kg or in rabbits given up to 160 mg/kg during organogenesis (approximately 17 and 40 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m², respectively). Delayed parturition and embryotoxicity (as evidenced by increased postimplantation losses, delayed development and reduced fetal weights) were observed in rats at oral doses of 40 mg/kg/day and above (approximately 10 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²). No functional or behavioral toxicity was observed in offspring of rats. In rabbits, embryotoxicity was observed at an oral dose of 160 mg/kg (approximately 40 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²). Delayed postnatal development, attributed to decreased body weight, was observed in offspring of rats at oral doses of 10 mg/kg and above during late gestation and lactation periods (approximately 2 times the maximum recommended human oral dose based on mg/m²).
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. Determination of fetal concentrations demonstrated a partial placental barrier to metformin.
No studies have been conducted with the combined components of ACTOPLUS MET. In studies performed with the individual components, both pioglitazone and metformin are secreted in the milk of lactating rats. It is not known whether pioglitazone and/or metformin is secreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, ACTOPLUS MET should not be administered to a breastfeeding woman. If ACTOPLUS MET is discontinued, and if diet alone is inadequate for controlling blood glucose, insulin therapy should be considered.
Safety and effectiveness of ACTOPLUS MET in pediatric patients have not been established.
Approximately 500 patients in placebo-controlled clinical trials of pioglitazone were 65 and over. No significant differences in effectiveness and safety were observed between these patients and younger patients.
Controlled clinical studies of metformin did not include sufficient numbers of elderly patients to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients, although other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and young patients. Metformin is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney and because the risk of serious adverse reactions to the drug is greater in patients with impaired renal function, ACTOPLUS MET should only be used in patients with normal renal function. Because aging is associated with reduced renal function, ACTOPLUS MET should be used with caution as age increases. Care should be taken in dose selection and should be based on careful and regular monitoring of renal function. Generally, elderly patients should not be titrated to the maximum dose of ACTOPLUS MET.
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
During controlled clinical trials, one case of overdose with pioglitazone 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 patient’s clinical signs and symptoms.
Overdose of metformin hydrochloride has occurred, including ingestion of amounts greater than 50 grams. Hypoglycemia was reported in approximately 10% of cases, but no causal association with metformin hydrochloride has been established. Lactic acidosis has been reported in approximately 32% of metformin overdose cases. Metformin is dialyzable with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions. Therefore, hemodialysis may be useful for removal of accumulated metformin from patients in whom metformin overdosage is suspected.
Initiation of ACTOPLUS MET in patients with established New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV heart failure is contraindicated.
In addition, ACTOPLUS MET is contraindicated in patients with:
- Renal disease or renal dysfunction (e.g., as suggested by serum creatinine levels ≥ 1.5 mg/dL [males], ≥ 1.4 mg/dL [females], or abnormal creatinine clearance) which may also result from conditions such as cardiovascular collapse (shock), acute myocardial infarction, and septicemia.
- Known hypersensitivity to pioglitazone, metformin or any other component of ACTOPLUS MET.
- Acute or chronic metabolic acidosis, including diabetic ketoacidosis, with or without coma. Diabetic ketoacidosis should be treated with insulin.
ACTOPLUS MET should be temporarily discontinued in patients undergoing radiologic studies involving intravascular administration of iodinated contrast materials, because use of such products may result in acute alteration of renal function.
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.