Where is Acarbose used?

Acarbose is a medication used in people with type-II diabetes mellitus. It is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes.  This medication is used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar. Proper control of diabetes may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Controlling high blood sugar helps also prevent:

  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of limbs
  • Nerve problems
  • Blindness
  • Sexual function problems

How does Acarbose work?

If you have type 2 diabetes mellitus, your body doesn’t use the hormone insulin normally. It can’t control the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood.

Acarbose slows the breakdown and absorption of sugars and starches in the gut. It is by stopping the action of enzymes in the intestine that would typically break down the starches and sugars that you eat. It is also into molecules that are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream. It affects an enzyme called sucrose, which normally breaks down a type of sugar called sucrose.

How is Acarbose taken?

The prescribed dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment.

  • Acarbose is to be taken by mouth usually three times a day or as directed by your doctor.
  • This medication is to be taken with meals to delay the breakdown of sugars and starches in the gut. This also slows down their absorption into the blood.  
  • Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without the consent of your doctor. It is important to continue taking this even if you feel well.
  • To help you remember, take it at the same time and in the same way each day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids while having this treatment. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects.

What are the possible side effects of Acarbose?

  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild skin rash or itching
  • Stomach upset in the first few weeks of treatment as your body adjusts to the medication

Let your doctor know if you have rare but very serious side effects of this medication such as:

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea that is watery or bloody
  • Easy bruising
  • Yellowing eyes or skin

What are the precautions in taking Acarbose?

  • Before taking Acarbose, tell your doctor if you have any medical history, especially kidney problems and intestinal or bowel problems.
  • You may experience dizziness or blurred vision due to extremely low or high blood sugar. Do not drive or do any activity that needs alertness or clear vision.
  • Limit alcohol while having this treatment. It may increase your risk of developing low blood sugar.
  • While you are taking this drug, your doctor may want to check your blood sugar level from time to time.
  • This is not recommended for use in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • This medication should not be used in people with a tendency to suffer from total or partial blockages in the gut, ulceration in the bowel, or severely decreased liver or kidney function
  • For those with a condition of hernias that may worsen due to increased gas formation in the gut, this prescription may not be prescribed.