Pioglitazone: The forgotten, cost-effective cardioprotective drug for type 2 diabetes

Ralph A Defronzo, Silvio Inzucchi, Muhammad A Abdul-ghani, Steven E. Nissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Type 2 diabetes individuals are at high risk for macrovascular complications: myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular mortality. Recent cardiovascular outcome trials have demonstrated that agents in two antidiabetic classes (SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists) reduce major adverse cardiovascular events. However, there is strong evidence that an older and now generically available medication, the thiazolidinedione, pioglitazone, can retard the atherosclerotic process (PERISCOPE and Chicago) and reduce cardiovascular events in large randomized prospective cardiovascular outcome trials (IRIS and PROactive). Pioglitazone is a potent insulin sensitizer, preserves beta-cell function, causes durable reduction in HbA1c, corrects multiple components of metabolic syndrome and improves nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Adverse effects (weight gain, fluid retention, fractures) must be considered, but are diminished with lower doses and are arguably outweighed by these multiple benefits. With healthcare expenses attributable to diabetes increasing rapidly, this cost-effective drug requires reconsideration in the therapeutic armamentarium for the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiabetes and Vascular Disease Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • cardiovascular disease
  • Pioglitazone
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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