Rosiglitazone | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

rosiglitazone, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Avandia
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for rosiglitazone

Oral tablet
1

Rosiglitazone is an oral drug used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes. It works along with diet and exercise.

2

This drug works only if your body makes insulin. It shouldn’t be used if you’re injecting or inhaling insulin. Using rosiglitazone with insulin could increase your risk of heart failure.

3

The standard starting dose is 4 mg taken one time per day or 2 mg taken two times per day.

4

It can take up to 2 weeks for rosiglitazone to start lowering your blood sugar levels. It may take up to 2–3 months to see the full effect of this drug on your blood sugar.

5

Side effects include cold symptoms, headaches, heart failure, liver issues, bone fractures, ovulation, anemia, and problems with the blood vessels in your eyes (macular edema).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Heart failure warning. This drug can cause or worsen heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • weight gain
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling

Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of heart failure. Your doctor should monitor you carefully when starting this medication and when changing doses.

If you have signs of heart failure, you shouldn’t take this medication. You cannot take this drug if you have New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV heart failure.

Liver problems

You shouldn’t take this drug if you have liver disease or high levels of liver enzymes called transaminases (greater than or equal to 2.5 times normal). Your doctor should check your liver function before starting and during your treatment with this medication.

Heart failure risks

This medication can make your body retain fluid. This can cause symptoms such as sudden weight gain and swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet. This can lead to or worsen heart failure. Tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

Risk of bone breaks

Taking this medication for a long time may increase your risk of fractures.

What is rosiglitazone maleate?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

This drug is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

This drug is not a combination product, but rosiglitazone is an ingredient in two combination products:

  • Avandaryl combines rosiglitazone with glimepiride.
  • Avandamet combines rosiglitazone with metformin.

Rosiglitazone may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs to manage diabetes.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes in adults. It works along with diet and exercise.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones or TZDs.

See Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones or TZDs. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug lowers the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood by increasing your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that moves glucose from the bloodstream to the cells, where it belongs. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or the body can’t use the insulin that it makes properly.

This drug helps insulin work in the muscles, liver, and fat to absorb glucose into your cells. The cells use insulin for energy or store it for future use.

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rosiglitazone Side Effects

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Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with rosiglitazone include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as stuffy nose and sore throat

  • headache

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • heart failure. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet (edema)
    • sudden, fast weight gain
  • heart attack. Symptoms include:

    • chest pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or comes and goes
    • uncomfortable pressure, pain, or squeezing in your chest, arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
    • shortness of breath
    • breaking out in a cold sweat
    • nausea or vomiting
    • lightheadedness
  • liver problems. Symptoms include:

    • unexplained nausea or vomiting
    • stomach pains
    • dark-colored urine
    • yellowing of your skin or the white of your eyes
  • diabetic eye disorder (macular edema). Symptoms include:

    • changes in your vision
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if rosiglitazone is used with insulin, sulfonylureas, or glitinides. Symptoms include

    • lightheadedness
    • shakiness
    • hunger
  • ovulation. This can increase your chance of getting pregnant. Use effective birth control while you’re taking this drug.

  • broken bones (fractures)

  • low red blood cell count (anemia). Symptoms include:

    • tiredness
    • weakness
    • confusion
    • pale skin
    • fast heart rate
    • chest pain
    • trouble breathing when exerting yourself
    • lightheadedness or dizziness
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug does not cause drowsiness.

This drug may cause swelling (edema), weight gain, and decrease in red blood cells (anemia).

If you have a low blood sugar reaction, you need to treat it.

  • For mild hypoglycemia (55–70 mg/dL), treatment is 15–20 grams of glucose (a type of sugar). You need to eat or drink one of the following:
    • 3–4 glucose tablets
    • a tube of glucose gel
    • ½ cup of juice or regular, non-diet soda
    • 1 cup of nonfat or 1% cow’s milk
    • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
    • 8–10 pieces of hard candy, such as lifesavers
  • Test your blood sugar 15 minutes after you treat the low sugar reaction. If your blood sugar is still low, then repeat the above treatment again.
  • Once your blood sugar is back in the normal range, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than 1 hour later. 

If you don’t treat low blood sugar, you can have a seizure, pass out, and possibly develop brain damage. Low blood sugar can even be fatal. If you pass out because of a low sugar reaction or cannot swallow, someone will have to give you an injection of glucagon to treat the low sugar reaction. You may need to go to the emergency room.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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rosiglitazone May Interact with Other Medications

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Rosiglitazone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Medicine used to treat cholesterol
  • gemfibrozil

This drug can increase the amount of rosiglitazone in your body. This may raise your risk of harmful side effects.

Medicine used to treat infections
  • rifampin

This drug can decrease the amount of rosiglitazone in your body. This could increase your blood sugar levels. 

Oral drugs for diabetes

Such as:

  • sulfonylureas
  • glitinides

Taking these drugs together could cause a severe low blood sugar reaction. Your doctor may lower your dose of these medicines if you’re taking them with rosiglitazone. 

Insulin

Taking insulin with rosiglitazone can increase your risk of getting or worsening heart failure. Insulin also raises your risk for a low blood sugar reaction. You shouldn’t take rosiglitazone if you’re injecting or inhaling insulin.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
heart disease
People with heart disease

This drug can cause your body to retain fluid, which can lead to or worsen heart failure.  Your doctor will monitor you for signs of heart failure such as weight gain, swelling, and shortness of breath. They’ll also check your blood pressure.

edema
People with swelling (edema)

This medication can cause your body to retain fluid, which causes swelling (edema). If you have edema, use this medication with caution. Larger doses of this drug may be more likely to cause fluid retention. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose of this drug to prevent this.

liver disease
People with liver disease

You shouldn’t use this drug if you have high liver enzyme levels (2.5 times or more above normal).  You doctor will check your liver function before starting and during treatment with this drug.

eye disease
People with eye disease

If you have diabetic retinopathy, rosiglitazone could cause thickening of your retina due to swelling (edema). This could lead to macular edema (a swelling of a part of the eye that controls vision). Tell your doctor if you have blurred vision and cannot see clearly.

osteoporosis
People with bone weakness (osteoporosis)

Using this drug for a long time can increase your risk of bone fractures, especially if you’re a woman. Your risk may be higher if you already have osteoporosis. Your doctor should check your bone health while you’re taking this drug.

anemia
People with anemia

This drug can decrease your red blood cell levels and lead to anemia. If you already have anemia, this drug can make it worse.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Rosiglitazone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breastfeed.

seniors
For seniors

Seniors may have a higher risk of heart failure while taking this drug. This can lead to hospitalization. If you develop heart failure symptoms, your doctor will have you stop taking this drug and treat your heart failure.

Make sure that you know signs of heart failure, such as:

  • sudden, fast weight gain
  • swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles, and feet
children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of rosiglitazone in people younger than 18 years haven’t been established.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Some medical conditions may increase your risk of harmful effects of rosiglitazone. Call your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms:

  • swelling, especially in your ankles or legs
  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • unexplained, fast weight gain
  • unusual tiredness
allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take rosiglitazone again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or a different thiazolidinedione before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction to these medicines could be fatal.

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How to Take rosiglitazone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Type 2 diabetes

Generic: rosiglitazone

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg

Brand: Avandia

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The standard starting dose is 4 mg taken by mouth once a day or 2 mg taken by mouth two times per day.
  • If your condition doesn’t improve in 8–12 weeks, your doctor may increase your dose to 8 mg per day.
  • The maximum daily dose of rosiglitazone is 8 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all or don’t take it on schedule

You may have high blood sugar levels and your diabetes control can get worse. Over time, high blood sugar levels can harm your eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart. Severe issues include heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and dialysis, and possible amputations.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours before the time for your next dose, then only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to tell the drug is working

If this medication is working, your blood sugar levels will be lower.

This drug is a long-term drug treatment.

This drug must be stored at the right temperature

  • Store this drug close to room temperature at 77°F (25°C). It can be stored briefly between 59°F (15°C) and 86°F (30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Self-management

Your doctor may have you regularly test your blood sugar levels at home.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to use your blood glucose monitoring machine. You need to know how to use this device to test your blood sugar.

If your doctor decides that you need to test your blood sugar at home, you’ll need the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose monitoring machine
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

Clinical monitoring

While taking this drug your doctor will test your blood sugar levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) levels to make sure that the medicine is working to control your diabetes. The A1c tests measures your blood sugar control over the last 2–3 months.

Your doctor may do blood tests to check if it’s safe to start or to continue taking rosiglitazone, including:

  • liver function tests
  • heart function tests

Your doctor may do other tests to check for complications of diabetes:

  • kidney function
  • eye exam at least once a year
  • foot exam at least once a year
  • dental exam at least once a year
  • nerve damage
  • cholesterol levels
  • blood pressure and heart rate

Your diet

This drug works along with diet and exercise to control your diabetes. Follow the nutrition plan that your doctor, registered dietician, or diabetes educator recommended.

Hidden costs

If your doctor decides that you need to test your blood sugar at home, you’ll need the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose monitoring machine

Insurance

Many insurance companies may require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

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How Much Does rosiglitazone Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for rosiglitazone

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for rosiglitazone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on August 19, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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