acarbose, Precose

  • 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.

Type 2 Diabetes Warning Signs

GENERIC NAME: acarbose

BRAND NAME: Precose

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Acarbose is an oral medication that is used to control blood glucose (sugar) levels in people type II diabetes. 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. The FDA approved acarbose in September 1995.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Acarbose is used in conjunction with diet and exercise for reducing blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. Acarbose can be used alone to treat type 2 diabetes or can be combined with sulfonylureas such as glyburide (Diabeta) or metformin (Glucophage) or with insulin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2015

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