The glitazones are a class of drugs primarily used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Glitazones work by activating cellular components known as PPARs. These PPARs result in genetic changes inside cells, the type of changes that result in enhanced insulin sensitivity and the inhibition of new sugar formation inside the body. Examples of glitazones include rosiglitazone and pioglitazone. Glitazones are absorbed by the body and travel to the liver where they are metabolised. However, given their mechanism of action involves genetic changes inside cells, it can take up to 6-8 weeks for their effects to be realised. Unwanted effects of glitazones include gastrointestinal upset, hypoglycaemia, fluid retention, and headache.
Below you will find a list of drugs that fall under the class of Glitazones.
Glitazones are currently only used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Investigations are currently ongoing as to whether they are effective in other conditions such as psoriasis and autism, but these experiments have proven unsuccessful so far. Glitazones have proven effective in type 2 diabetes due to their highly specific mechanism of action. As they are responsible for enhancing the rate at which fat cells pick up sugar, this makes it a convenient mechanism which is highly specific to treat this condition.
However, the use of glitazones has fallen out of popularity in recent years due to recent research that links their use with fatal cardiac events, such as heart attacks. Despite this, much research continues to be made each and every year to develop a safer alternative, but glitazones are still licensed for use and need to be carefully prescribed for type 2 diabetes.
Glitazones Side Effects
The side-effect profile of glitazones is responsible for why they have dramatically fallen out of use in recent years. Drugs such as rosiglitazone have shown a direct link with severe cardiac events, which is why alternative medicines tend to be employed today’s treatment of type 2 diabetes. Similarly, other glitazones such as pioglitazone have also demonstrated this evidential link. The glitazone class, however, is also associated with other symptoms. Chief among these are its linkage with
- gastrointestinal effects
- fluid retention
- liver dysfunction
Rosiglitazone, in particular, is noted for a significant increase in the risk of heart attack, which is why this drug should be avoided in patients with pre-existing heart disease or peripheral vascular disease.
There are no known major interactions with the glitazone class of drugs. However, some considerations need to be bare in mind. Patients with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions should not be prescribed this class of drugs as they are more likely to precipitate a heart attack. In addition, many patients should bear their dietary regimen in mind.
Diabetics will be advised that in order to keep blood sugar levels within safe parameters, they must not overly consume foodstuffs that contain too much sugar, or liable to make them obese. This can be considered an interaction between diet and drug, with the maximum effect of the drug achieved by monitoring diet and exercise to reduce levels of obesity.