top of page

Acarbose - Mechanism of Action, Indications, uses, Administration, Side Effects

Chemical Formula:

  • C25H43NO18

Mechanism of Action:

  • Acarbose is an oral medication used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • It belongs to the class of drugs known as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors.

  • The primary mechanism of action of acarbose is the inhibition of alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the small intestine.

  • These enzymes are responsible for breaking down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, which are then absorbed by the body.

  • By inhibiting these enzymes, acarbose slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, resulting in a reduced increase in blood sugar levels after meals.

  • By delaying carbohydrate absorption, acarbose helps to control postprandial (after-meal) hyperglycemia, which is a common issue in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

  • It also helps to prevent sharp spikes in blood glucose levels, thereby promoting more stable blood sugar control throughout the day.

Indications and Uses:

  • Acarbose is primarily indicated for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • It is used as an adjunct to diet and exercise to help control blood sugar levels in individuals who have not achieved adequate glycemic control through lifestyle modifications alone.

  • Acarbose is particularly beneficial for individuals who experience significant postprandial hyperglycemia, as it specifically targets the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates from meals.


  • Acarbose is available in the form of oral tablets.

  • The recommended dosage and treatment plan may vary depending on individual factors, such as the severity of diabetes, response to treatment, and other medications being used.

  • The typical starting dose of acarbose is 25 mg taken orally three times a day with the first bite of each main meal.

  • The dosage may be increased gradually, up to a maximum dose of 100 mg three times a day, as determined by a healthcare professional.

  • Acarbose should be taken with meals to coincide with carbohydrate digestion and absorption.

Side Effects:

Common side effects associated with acarbose may include:

  1. Flatulence (gas)

  2. Abdominal discomfort or pain

  3. Diarrhea

  4. Nausea

  • These side effects are generally mild and transient, and they often improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication.

  • However, in some cases, they may persist and become bothersome.

  • Serious side effects are rare but can include severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when acarbose is used in combination with other antidiabetic medications.

  • It is important to closely monitor blood sugar levels and promptly treat hypoglycemia if it occurs.

  • It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive list of potential side effects and to discuss any pre-existing medical conditions or medications before starting acarbose.


  • Acarbose is an oral medication used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • It works by inhibiting alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the small intestine, leading to slower digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, and subsequently, better control of blood sugar levels.

  • Acarbose is typically well-tolerated, with common side effects such as flatulence and gastrointestinal discomfort.

  • Individual responses may vary, and it is important to consult a healthcare professional for personalized information and guidance regarding the use of acarbose in diabetes management.


Related Posts

See All

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page