What is acarbose?

Acarbose is a medication belonging to the group of   drugs called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (antidiabetics), which has an effect on certain chemical processes that take place in the midgut to regulate blood glucose levels.

What is acarbose used for?

  • Acarbose has the property to slow down the action of certain chemicals that break down food to release glucose, thus regulating the presence of blood sugar after meals in diabetic patients. Thanks to this mechanism, the derived glucose is released and passes into the blood more slowly , reducing and delaying the postprandial increase in glucose. (1)
  • It is used to treat: 
    • Patients with type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
    • Type 1 diabetes as an adjunct to insulin, diet, and exercise. (two)

Dosage and routes of administration of acarbose

Acarbose comes in 50 mg and 100 mg tablets . Its administration is orally. The indicative dose is as follows:

  • Tablets: One 50 mg tablet three times a day at main meals.

What products contain acarbose?

Some of the medicines that contain acarbose are:

  • Glucobay®
  • Glumida®
  • Incardel®
  • Sacartrol®


  • Glucobay® is a medication whose active ingredient is acarbose, which comes in 50 mg and 100 mg presentations.
  • It is used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus.


  • Glumida® is an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor medication , whose active principle is acarbose in 100 mg tablet presentation.
  • It is used to treat adult patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.


  • Incardel® is a medication made from acarbose as the active ingredient, which comes in 50 mg tablets.
  • It is used to treat insulin-dependent and non-insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus .


  • Sacartrol® is an antidiabetic medication whose main component is acarbose, which comes in a 50 mg presentation.
  • It is indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, when diet and exercise are not enough to control blood sugar levels.

Acarbose Side Effects

Treatment with acarbose may cause in certain patients some of the following adverse reactions :

  • Possible allergic reactions due to contact with any component of the formula.
  • Malabsorption and abdominal distension.
  • Bloating, flatulence and even diarrhea .
  • Secondary anemia .
  • Very rare cases of urticaria, erythema, and skin rashes may occur.
  • Hypoglycemia with concomitant use of oral hypoglycemic agents and/or insulin.

Important: If any of these symptoms appear during treatment with acarbose or another one not included in the list, please stop its use and notify your doctor. 

Contraindications and warnings of acarbose

The use of acarbose is contraindicated in the following circumstances:

  • Hypersensitivity to any of the formula’s components.
  • Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • In patients with poor digestion and intestinal obstruction.
  • During pregnancy or lactation .

To highlight: Provide all information about your health history to your doctor, before starting treatment with acarbose.

Avoid if you have:

  • prolonged fasting
  • Chronic malabsorption disorders.
  • Ulcerative colitis.


  • Acarbose must be administered by prescription or medical prescription.
  • Concomitant use with sulfonylurea, metformin, or insulin may require dose adjustment, as some cases of hypoglycemic shock have been reported.
  • There are risks of appearance of hypoglycemia, in case acarbose is used in combination with other antidiabetics.
  • Digestive enzyme preparations, antacids, and intestinal adsorbents may decrease the effect of acarbose.
  • This drug should be used with caution in people with severe or chronic renal failure.
  • Keep this medicine out of the reach of children.

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