Precose (acarbose)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is acarbose, and how does it work?

  • Acarbose is a prescription oral drug that is used to control blood glucose (sugar) levels in people type 2 diabetes in conjunction with diet, exercise, and other diabetes drugs, for example, metformin (Glucophage) or insulin. It belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, which also includes miglitol (Glyset).
  • Carbohydrates that are eaten are digested by enzymes in the intestine into smaller sugars which are absorbed into the body and increase blood sugar levels. The process of carbohydrate digestion requires the pancreas to release into the intestine alpha-amylase enzymes, which digest the large carbohydrates into smaller carbohydrates called oligosaccharides. The cells lining the small intestine then release alpha-glucosidase enzymes that further digest the oligosaccharides into smaller sugars, like glucose, that can be absorbed. Acarbose is a man-made oligosaccharide designed to slow down the actions of alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes, thereby slowing the appearance of sugar in the blood after a meal.

What brand names are available for acarbose?

  • Precose is the brand name available for acarbose.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2017

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