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Rosiglitazone and Edema

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Current research suggests that about 4.4 million people in the United States have mild to severe edema. Edema is simply a condition where fluid collects in unwanted places, commonly the legs and hands. Edema causes stretched shiny and swollen looking skin. A variety of conditions can cause edema, from simple injuries to certain medications.

Most forms of edema are treatable at home once you identify the cause. One common cause of edema in the legs, face, neck, hands, and eyes is the diabetes medication Rosiglitazone. Read on to learn more about this medication and how to reverse edema caused by it.

What Causes Edema?

In general, edema occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the body (capillaries) leak fluid, causing it to build up in the surrounding tissues, leading to swelling. There are several things, however, that can increase the risk that these blood vessels will leak, including:

  • Sitting or staying in one position too long
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Pregnancy
  • Eating too much salty food

Certain medications, such as those that treat high blood pressure, certain diabetes drugs, estrogens, and even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lead to edema. Some causes of edema are more serious, however, and may include:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cancer
  • Surgery
  • Arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Deep vein thrombosis, or chronic venous insufficiency—weak or damaged leg veins
  • Inadequate lymphatic system

That’s why it’s important to check with your doctor if you’re experiencing edema of any kind, just to rule out any of these other more serious medical causes. No matter what is causing your edema, it’s important to treat it immediately. Any fluid buildup makes your heart and kidneys work harder, which can lead to long-term damage.

What is Rosiglitazone?

Rosiglitazone is a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. The medication is a thiazolidinedione, which works to increase the sensitivity of the body to insulin. Usually, Rosiglitazone is used in combination with a diet and exercise plan. In some cases, Rosiglitazone can carry serious health risks.

One of the most common serious side effects is the risk of edema that can lead to severe edema and pulmonary embolisms. If you have had heart failure, heart problems, chronic edema, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, sleep apnea, or irregular heartbeats, Rosiglitazone may carry increased risks. Expected side effects include edema, weight gain, shortness of breath, waking up in the middle of the night, trouble breathing while lying down, dry cough, difficulty walking, rapid heartbeat, and increased fatigue.

Not everyone taking Rosiglitazone will have side effects and some may feel just one or two. However, many patients taking Rosiglitazone report generalized edema.

Common Rosiglitazone Side Effects 
  • Edema in the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in vision
  • Fever
  • Itchiness
  • Blisters
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the arm, back, neck, stomach, or jaw
  • Runny nose
  • Increased risk of fracture

How Rosiglitazone Causes Edema

Rosiglitazone is a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor subtype γ (PPARγ) activator. This means that it makes the body more sensitive to insulin. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties.

However, one of the common side effects is to cause massive fluid retention. In response to taking the medication, the body holds on to as much fluid as possible. Additionally, the medication also increases the permeability of adipose tissues, which is another reason for edema and weight gain when taking the medication.





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