ACTOS vs. Metformin

When I was diagnosed with Type II about three years ago I was put on 15 mg of Actos which worked very well in lowering my blood sugar. However, I read it causes weight gain and perhaps may not be good for post menapausal women’s bones. Anyway, I asked my doctor to change me to another med. He prescribed 500 mg Metformin TR. That was about four or five weeks ago and it is not doing near as good a job as the Actos did.
I also take herbs to help my blood sugar: Alpha Lipoic Acid 200 mg per day; Chromium 200 mg Gymnema sylvestre 250 mg; Vadanyl Sulfate 15 mg. I don’t know how much these herbs help.
Any comments out there?

I started out on Metformin and now I’m on Metformin 850mg three times a day and Actos 15mg three times a day, Lantus at night and Humulin R during the day when bg levels are over 150. Do the herbs help? I’ve heard of taking Cinnamon, I have done that but what are the ones for?

That’s a lot of meds. Cinnamon capsules gave me indigestion so I stopped using them. I do use real cinnamon powder spice sprinkled into yogart and oatmeal sometimes. It is better than buying the capsules.
I do think that every diabetic should take Alpha Lipoic Acid every day with a meal and some people swear by Gymnema slyvestre but I don’t know how much they take. I use the “Sugar Blocker” pills which have a combination of essential herbs for diabetics and I buy it at WalMart in the section where you find diabetic supplies and vitimins.
Anyway, so far I don’t think much of Glumetza (Metformin) 500 mg. Time Released medication.

I diagnosed with Type II about 6 months ago I was started out on Actos it didn’t do well with heart medication. I take 500mg Metformin it works fairly good.

Never took the Actos, was on Avandia when i first started but that only lasted for just over a year before I pulled myself off of it after it was added to a list of drugs that can have a negative prolonged effect against one of the conditions I have.

Been taking the Chromium since I was told I was a type 2, am also on Glumetza 1000mg once a day, plus Lantus 20 units at bedtime, and 6 units of Humalog three times a day (with meals). I use to take a host of others, but not in the past year no income to afford them really, CQ10 is great, but bleep its costly to get. Can’t touch cinnamon would be nice, but it doesn’t like me at all (got to love allergies).

I take a heart medication but Actos still worked great.

You didn’t say how long you have been a diabetic. CQ10 IS VERY EXPENSIVE and so I have not tried it…did it lower your bs?
I am going to give this Glumetza some time and monitor my bs more often during the day to see how it is working overall. I got off Actos only because I read it caused weight gain. We are all different and react to meds individually so what works for me might not work for someone else. I only took one pill a day of Actos 15 mg and it did a good job as long as I didn’t cheat and eat sweets!

IT ABSOLUTELY CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN, esp. in menopausal or post-menopausal women. Research shows it actually stimulates new fat cells. Personally, I think it is an awful drug.

However, you need to know that Metformin and Actos are two completely different types of medication. Metformin does not lower BG - at least not directly, while Actos does. Metformin’s only job is to assist your body in better using the insulin it makes.

To learn more about different treatments and options, I highly recommend -

I think Jenny’s book saved my life and I wish I had discovered it sooner. Get a C Peptide test to see where you’re at with your beta cells - then you can make better decisions. If I knew before what I know now, I never would have taken some of the horrible drugs they give to T2s.

Hi Cheri,
Thank you for your comments and the link. You have given me the information I was seeking. I am new to this disease, i.e. I was diagnosed three years ago and my doctor put me on Actos. I read several books on diabetes but I recently found this forum and decided to talk to other people to see if I could get a better insight into Type II. I realize now that my doctor probably put me on Actos because I have “fatty liver” (non-alcoholic disease of the liver) since he recently just happened to mention that Actos helps the liver. But after three years of taking Actos I am convinced it causes weight gain; or in my case I had a very hard time losing any weight even with exercise.
I don’t think I have ever had a C Peptide test done so I will ask for it next doctor’s visit.
Thanks again for your help.

You’re very welcome, Kathy. Good luck to you and feel free to contact me any time. Education and information are your best tools - along with the support you can find here at Tu. And make sure you have a well-informed doc (an endocrinologist) who expects you to be a full partner - not just blindly follow his/her decisions. It’s your disease, your body, your health - no one can own it but you. And that’s very empowering once you get there.

Kathy, I took actos and gained 29 lbs in 3 months…and I was on a very strict weight loss program, along with a diabetic diet.
I would think that if you aren’t getting the numbers you or your doc want, it’s time to start again and see what a combo would do…can you get an appt. and talk to them about this? It would be worth your effort, I would think.

Also, my chief complaint about most “D” meds is that one of the first five side effects is “May cause weight gain”…hey, aren’t we supposed to be losing weight to help our “D”? What’s up with that? If they can put a man on the moon, and get them back, they can’t make a med that won’t cause weight gain? I’m puzzled and P***ed!

Good points, Cathy. Unfortunately, I think the answer is the almighty $$$$. Can you imagine the money being made, and the money yet to be made, by keeping us “sick”?

Just look at statins and The Big Lie about lowfat foods - and most docs have bought in to it big time. They are AWFUL drugs that create so many subtle and some not-so-subtle side effects. The focus on cholesterol and the intake of fat is soooooooooo bogus. Think about how much $$ is involved in the “low fat” food industry, as well as the pharma $$ involved in statins.

The real culprit making our society sick - and raising cholesterol! - is carbs and carb overload. So much of what is happening is directly related to insulin resistance…it is insulin resistance that comes first - before T2 diabetes…it is insulin resistance that often runs in families (like mine), even when there are not weight issues…at the same time, it is insulin resistance that often leads to the obesity we see in epidemic proportions in our society, along with misinformation about fats/proteins and the harmfulness of carb-overload…it is insulin resistance that sometimes makes managing D so difficult…in short, it is insulin resistance that cries out for much more research…and how it is related to our autoimmune systems.

But think about all the $$ that would be lost by pharma if we actually figured out this puzzle. Yeah, I’m pissed, too! I have to believe that, eventually, truth and science will win out.

Well said Cheri. It wasn’t my doctor who wanted me off Actos it was ME. I don’t think he has a clue about how to treat diabetes but I DARE not say that so I took charge and told him to put me on something else. I also asked for a referral to and endocrinologist (he has never mentioned it) and he said okay but I am still waiting for the referral. I don’t have faith in him anymore. I’ll remind him of the referral and then go to see the endocrinologist.
Thanks again,

Hear! Hear! What IS up with that is a very good question. Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in America I think.
Thanks for writing.

Hello, folks!

The diabetic nurse put me on to Actos this morning, switching me over from Victoza (which, after a promising start, just didn’t do much good). I’m also on 4 Metformin a day, and I’ve also started taking a large dose of cod liver oil with Omega 3, which seems to have helped a broken down scar on my leg finally heal up in the last week or so. I am a bit concerned about the bone problem - I need to have a broken wisdom tooth out, and I only had a broken premolar taken out at the end of November - a friend suggested that I might have osteoporosis - they are offering scans for £20, or I can wait a year (when I’ll be 50) and then get it done for free. I think that I’ll raise it next time I’m at the surgery.

Meantime, I’ll see how it goes, although I wasn’t too thrilled to see that one of the side effects of Actos was flatulence - same with Metformin! Oh, dear …!

I also take DHEA and CoQ10.

Good for you for NOT taking Actos - it is an AWFUL medicine. Nothing wrong with Metformin - some have side effects but for most it is tried and true.
It is not surprising that the Metformin is not working like the Actos - they are 2 totally different types of medications. Metformin does not directly lower BG - it helps your pancreas be more effective. Actos is a sulfonylurea.

The BEST advice I can give you is to go to Jenny’s site and maybe get her book -
It really saved me. There is so much we don’t know, aren’t told, in the beginning - and so, so, so much that general practitioners do not know.

Hello, folks, here’s my update. The Actos dosage was increased to 30 mg a couple of months ago, but the numbers were coming down excruciatingly slowly. At the last diabetes clinic last week, the nurse was talking about putting me on 1 shot of Novorapid at teatime and 1 shot of Lantus at bedtime. HOWEVER, a couple of days later, I went for a blood test - I’ve just phoned for the results - the numbers have taken a quantum plunge down to 73 from 84! I don’t know what that is in old money, but it sure sounds good to me! Looks like the Actos (along with the Metformin and glimepiride) is doing the trick. We’re going to try nudging the dosage up to 45 mg, and see what happens at the next clinic in January.

"I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, it’s getting better all the time … "

My kidney Doctor wanted me off actos.

That is bad drug used to stuff more glucose into cells already topped off. And it will.

Cut carbs diet, exercise more.

I am on 1200 calorie diet and 2 miles walking. I use multiple 500 mg doses spread around clock of metformin.

AT one stage, ACTOS was only drug that could get BG down. Then extra exercise showed that would get excessive glucose out and did drop dam actos. Glad I did. My kidneys stabalized and I am far healthier.

Check with your Doctor, this is not advice but simply sharing what I do.

Taking your medicine like actos or Metformin TR when having diabetes will depend on your body reaction. It doesn't base for the quality of drug coz other people are well happy with actos while others doesn't.


Metformin in sufficient dose cuts back liver glucose release.

Actos forces more glucose into body skeletal muscles when they are even full of glucose. It seems the water retention is greater under actos.

For me I had to give up actos as my kidneys starting to go down hill and dropping efficiency with protein in urine.

That has stopped once off of actos and a1c sub 7.0.

Be careful about actos. kissing cousin to avandia.

good luck.