Acarbose belongs to the class of anti-diabetic drugs and it is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is also
used in some countries to treat prediabetes. It works best as a part of the larger proper diet and
exercise program. It is vital that the high blood sugar is brought under control because it helps prevent
kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, and other dangerous complications arising out of
diabetes. It is also important medicine because the control of diabetes lessens the risk of a heart
attack or stroke. Acarbose is a starch blocker, and working by inhibiting the alpha glucosidase, an
intestinal enzyme that releases glucose from larger carbohydrates.
Acarbose is sold as a generic in Europe and China under the brand name Glucobay (Bayer AG) and
in North America as Precose (Bayer Pharmaceuticals), and in Canada as Prandase (Bayer AG).
In 1990, Bayer AG introduced, the first drug of new type of oral antidiabetic commercialized under the
name of acarbose (Glucobay®)30 . Acarbose was first approved for medical use in the United States
in 1995 and was the first alpha-glucosidase inhibitor.
Acarbose should be taken before the start of main meals as it prevents the digestion of complex
carbohydrates, Even the amount of complex carbohydrates in the meal effects the efficacy of
An Adult is given a dose of 25 mg 3 times daily, increasing to 100 mg 3 times a day. The maximum
daily dosage however the maximum dose per day is 600 mg.
The cost of Acarbose is cheaper in developing than the developed world. A standard tablet with the
strength of 500mg cost USD for generic makers and USD35 for reputed brands. Recent changes in
regulation in china bringing down the prices of drugs meant that Acarbose is now available at 93%
discount costing only USD1 for one tablet of 50mg.
Acarbose blocks glycoside hydrolases which are needed in digestion of carbohydrates, specifically,
alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the brush border of the small intestines, and pancreatic alpha-amylase.
Acarbose works in intestines by slowing down the breakdown and absorption of complex
carbohydrates from diet. This effect helps control the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal. Acarbose
specifically inhibits those enzymes which help to digest carbohydrates. The Inhibition these enzyme
systems decreases the rate of digestion of complex carbohydrates, as are result less glucose is
absorbed because the carbohydrates are not broken down into glucose molecules. In patients of type
2 diabities, the short-term effect is to decrease current blood glucose levels and the long-term effect is
a reduction in HbA1c level. This is vital because the slowing of food digestion helps keep blood
glucose from rising very high after meals.
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