Generic Name: acarbose (ah KAR bose)Brand Names: Precose
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.
Acarbose may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before taking acarbose, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, or any type of stomach or intestinal disorder.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. Do not change your dose or stop taking acarbose without first talking to your doctor.If you take acarbose with insulin or other diabetes medications, your blood sugar could get too low. 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. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include headache, nausea, hunger, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, fast heartbeat, sweating, tremor, or trouble concentrating. 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.
inflammatory bowel disease;
a blockage in your intestines;
a digestive disorder affecting your intestines;
intestinal ulcer (of your colon); or
Before taking acarbose, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
a bowel or intestinal disorder; or
a stomach disorder.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether acarbose passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
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. Follow the directions on your prescription label.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.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood sugar will need to be checked often. Your doctor may also need to do other blood tests on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
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).
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.Store acarbose at room temperature in a tightly closed container, away from moisture and heat.
See also: Acarbose dosage in more detail
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.
In case of overdose, do not eat or drink anything containing carbohydrates for the next 4 to 6 hours.
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.
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 report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Mellitus Type II:
Initial dose: 25 mg orally 3 times a day.Maintenance dose: 50 to 100 mg orally 3 times a day.The maximum dose for patients less than 60 kg is 50 mg orally 3 times a day. The maximum dose for patients greater than 60 kg is 100 mg orally 3 times a day.
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.