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Acarbose

What is acarbose?

Acarbose is a prescription medication. It comes as an oral tablet.

Acarbose is available as the brand-name drug Precose. It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

Uses

Acarbose is used with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Acarbose works in your intestines to slow the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates from foods that you eat. This effect helps lessen your blood sugar rise after a meal.

How to use Acarbose

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 3 times daily with the first bite of a meal. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse (your blood sugar is too high or too low).

Serious Side Effects of Acarbose

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:

Signs of an allergic reaction, which include hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

  • Severe itching
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Severe constipation
  • Diarrhea that's watery or bloody
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Easy bruising
  • Purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin
  • Upper stomach pain, nausea, or loss of appetite
  • Dark urine or clay-colored stools
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)

Dosage

Acarbose Overdose

If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison-control center or emergency room immediately.

You can reach a poison-control center at (800) 222-1222.

Missed Dose of Acarbose

If you miss a dose of acarbose, take it as soon as you remember.

If you plan on having a snack soon, take your dose with the snack.

If it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular dosing schedule. Don't double up on doses.

Acarbose Warnings

Before taking acarbose, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

An intestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a bowel obstruction

Cirrhosis of the liver or any other type of liver disease

Any kind of stomach or digestion problem

Ketoacidosis, a serious condition that occurs after an untreated high-blood-sugar (hyperglycemic) episode

Tell your healthcare provider that you're taking acarbose before having any type of surgery, including a dental procedure.

Regular sugar (sucrose) won't work if you use it to treat a low blood-sugar episode while taking acarbose.

In case you need to treat mild or moderate low blood sugar, be sure you always have an oral glucose (dextrose) tablet to take by mouth.

You should know the symptoms of a high (hyperglycemic) and low (hypoglycemic) blood-sugar episodes and what to do if you experience them.

Taken alone, acarbose is not expected to trigger a low blood-sugar event, but it might if taken with some other drugs.

Tell your physician if you experience illnesses, fevers, injuries, or unusual stress while taking acarbose, because these kinds of events can change your blood-sugar levels and may affect the dosage you need.

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