There is a need to evaluate oral glucose-lowering agents not only for their value in achieving glycemic control but also for their impact on cardiac risk factor modification. This article reviews the evidence base for the two thiazolinediones currently available, pioglitazone and rosiglitazone. These drugs exert their effects through actions affecting metabolic control, lipid profiles, and the vascular wall. They have been shown to be as efficacious in establishing glycemic control, in both monotherapy and combination therapy regimens, as more traditional oral agents, and may be able to sustain that control in the long term. Both thiazolidinediones have demonstrated favorable effects on markers of cardiovascular disease. Evidence from the large PROactive outcomes study suggests that pioglitazone may exert protective effects in patients with type 2 diabetes and macrovascular disease. Thiazolidinediones are generally well tolerated but they can cause weight gain, induce fluid retention, and may contribute to bone loss in postmenopausal women. The place of thiazolidinediones in the management of type 2 diabetes is well established. The potential for additional benefits in reducing macrovascular risk encourages further long-term study of these agents
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