Acarbose slows the digestion of carbohydrates in the body, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Acarbose is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Acarbose is sometimes used in combination with insulin or other diabetes medications you take by mouth.
Dosage and direction
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.
Take Acarbose with the first bite of a main meal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Your medication needs may change if you become sick or injured, if you have a serious infection, or if you have any type of surgery. Your doctor may want you to stop taking acarbose for a short time if any of these situations affect you. Do not change your dose or stop taking acarbose without first talking to your doctor
Take care to keep your blood sugar from getting too low, causing hypoglycemia. You may have hypoglycemia if you skip a meal, exercise too long, drink alcohol, or are under stress.
Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them:
hunger, weakness, nausea, irritability, tremors;
drowsiness, dizziness, headache, blurred vision;
confusion, trouble concentrating;
sweating, fast heartbeat;
seizure (convulsions); or
fainting, coma (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal).
Keep a supply of oral glucose (dextrose) with you in case you have low blood sugar. While you are taking acarbose, candy or table sugar (sucrose) may not work as well as dextrose in quickly raising your blood sugar. Also be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.
Acarbose is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. It is important to use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking acarbose. Alcohol lowers blood sugar and may increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
Avoid taking a digestive enzyme such as pancreatin, amylase, or lipase at the same time you take acarbose. These enzymes can make it harder for your body to absorb acarbose. Products that contain digestive enzymes include Arco-Lase, Cotazym, Donnazyme, Pancrease, Creon, and Ku-Zyme.
Possible side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms:
nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
dark urine, clay-colored stools; or
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include:
mild stomach pain, gas, bloating;
mild skin rash or itching.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.
You may be more likely to have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you are taking acarbose with other drugs that raise blood sugar. Drugs that can raise blood sugar include:
niacin, nicotine patches or gum;
diuretics (water pills);
steroids (prednisone and others);
phenothiazines (Compazine and others);
thyroid medicine (Synthroid and others);
birth control pills and other hormones;
seizure medications (Dilantin and others);
cold or asthma medications;
diet pills, stimulants, or medicines to treat ADHD; or
a calcium channel blocker such as diltiazem (Tiazac, Cartia, Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others.
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can affect your blood sugar or interact with acarbose. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember (be sure to take it with a meal). If it has been longer than 15 minutes since you started your meal, you may still take acarbose but it may be less effective than taking it with the first bite of the meal. Do not take acarbose between meals, and do not take extra medicine to make up a missed dose.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include bloating, gas, or stomach discomfort.
In case of overdose, do not eat or drink anything containing carbohydrates for the next 4 to 6 hours.
Store Acarbose at room temperature in a tightly closed container, away from moisture and heat
We provide only general information about medications which does not cover all directions, possible drug integrations, or precautions. Information at the site cannot be used for self-treatment and self-diagnosis. The specific instructions for a particular patient should be agreed with your health care adviser or doctor in charge of the case. We disclaim reliability of this information and mistakes it could contain. We are not responsible for any direct, indirect, special or other indirect damage as a result of any use of the information on this site and also for consequences of self-treatment.