Pioglitazone is an antihyperglycaemic agent that, in the presence of insulin resistance, increases hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity, thereby inhibiting hepatic gluconeogenesis and increasing peripheral and splanchnic glucose uptake. Pioglitazone is generally well tolerated, weight gain and oedema are the most common emergent adverse events, and there are no known drug interactions between pioglitazone and other drugs. In clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, pioglitazone as monotherapy, or in combination with metformin, repaglinide, insulin or a sulphonylurea, induced both long- and short-term improvements in glycaemic control and serum lipid profiles. Pioglitazone was also effective in reducing some measures of cardiovascular risk and arteriosclerosis. Pioglitazone thus offers an effective treatment option for the management of patients with type 2 diabetes.