Acarbose is a drug to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In order for treatment to be more effective, the use of acarbose must be balanced with the application of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Acarbose works by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the intestines. That way, this drug can reduce the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. In the treatment  of type 2 diabetes , acarbose may be combined with other antidiabetic drugs, such as metformin or insulin.

What is Acarbose

The groupPrescription drugs
BenefitControlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes
Consumed byMature
Acarbose for pregnant and lactating womenCategory B: Animal studies have not shown a risk to the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women. Acarbose is not known to be absorbed into breast milk or not. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.
Drug formTablet

Precautions Before Taking Acarbose

Acarbose should not be consumed carelessly. The following are things you should pay attention to before consuming acarbose:

  • Do not take acarbose if you are allergic to this drug. Tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
  • Do not consume  alcoholic beverages while undergoing treatment with acarbose because it can increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Do not take acarbose if you have or are currently suffering from  liver cirrhosis , intestinal ulcers, colitis , diabetic ketoacidosis, or intestinal obstruction.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, liver disease, hernia, stomach or intestinal disorders.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have recently had an injury, infection , fever, or undergoing any surgical procedure. Closer monitoring of sugar levels may be necessary to reduce the risk of complications.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or perform activities that require alertness after taking acarbose.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • See your doctor right away if you experience a drug allergic reaction , overdose, or serious side effect after taking acarbose.

Dosage and Rules of Use Acarbose

The initial dose of acarbose for adults is 50 mg once daily. The dose can be increased to 50 mg 3 times a day. If needed, the dose may be increased to 100 mg 3 times daily after 6–8 weeks. The maximum dose is 200 mg 3 times a day.

How to Consume Acarbose Correctly

Always follow the doctor's advice and read the instructions on the medicine package before taking acarbose.

Consume acarbose when you are about to start eating. Swallow acarbose tablets with the help of plain water. Acarbose can also be swallowed with the first bite. If you have difficulty swallowing the medicine whole, you can chew acarbose tablets.

Try to take acarbose at the same time each day. Make sure that there is sufficient time between one dose and the next. Keep taking this medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking acarbose without consulting your doctor first.

If you forget to take acarbose, take the missed dose as soon as possible if it is not too close to the time for your next dose. If it is close, ignore and do not double the dose of acarbose.

Keep in mind, acarbose cannot cure type 2 diabetes. In order for treatment to be more effective, patients need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as quitting smoking, not consuming alcoholic beverages, adjusting the diet as needed, and exercising regularly.

Store acarbose in a closed container, at room temperature, in a dry place, and away from direct sunlight. Keep medicine out of reach of children.

Acarbose Interactions with Other Drugs

The use of acarbose together with other drugs can cause several interaction effects, including:

  • Enhanced effect of other antidiabetic, such as insulin
  • Decreased effect of acarbose when used with gastrointestinal adsorbent drugs, such as activated carbon ( charcoal ) or digestant drugs , such as amylase and pancreatin
  • Drastic changes in blood sugar levels that can lead to hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia when used with gatifloxacin
  • Increased risk of liver damage when used with lomitapide, mipomersen, or teriflunomide
  • Enhanced effect of acarbose when used with neomycin or colestyramine
  • Decreased absorption of digoxin

Side Effects and Dangers of Acarbose

The following are side effects that can occur after taking acarbose:

  • Bloated stomach
  • Frequent urination
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea

Consult a doctor if these side effects do not improve or even get worse. In addition to these side effects, there are also serious side effects that can occur after consuming acarbose, including:

  • Severe constipation
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Disorders of liver function 

See your doctor immediately if you experience any of the serious side effects listed above or have an allergic reaction to any medication that can be characterized by shortness of breath, an itchy skin rash, or swelling of the lips, tongue, or eyelids.

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