Generic Name: acarbose (AY-kar-bose)
Brand Name: Precose
Acarbose is used for:
Treating type 2 diabetes. It is used along with diet and exercise. It may be used alone or with other antidiabetic medicines.
Acarbose is a glucosidase inhibitor. It works by slowing down the enzyme that turns carbohydrates into glucose. This results in a smaller rise in blood sugar levels following a meal.
Do NOT use acarbose if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in acarbose
- you have blockage of the stomach or bowel, or you are at risk of these problems
- you have inflammatory bowel disease, colon ulcers, or long-term (chronic) stomach or bowel problems that interfere with digestion or nutrient absorption
- you have cirrhosis of the liver
- you have diabetic ketoacidosis (high ketone levels) or severe kidney problems
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using acarbose:
Some medical conditions may interact with acarbose. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have stomach or bowel problems, liver problems or unexplained abnormal liver function tests, or kidney problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with acarbose. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of their side effects, including bleeding, may be increased by acarbose
- Calcium channel blockers (eg, verapamil), corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), diuretics (eg, hydrochlorothiazide), estrogen, isoniazid, nicotinic acid, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), phenytoin, sympathomimetics (eg, pseudoephedrine), or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because they may increase the risk of high blood sugar levels
- Insulin or sulfonylureas (eg, glyburide) because they may increase the risk of low blood sugar levels
- Digoxin because its effectiveness may be decreased by acarbose
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if acarbose may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use acarbose:
Use acarbose as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take acarbose by mouth at the start (with the first bite) of each main meal.
- If you also take charcoal or digestive enzyme preparations (eg, amylase, pancreatin), ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take them with acarbose.
- If you miss a dose of acarbose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use acarbose.
Important safety information:
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take acarbose before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular blood sugar testing are important for best results with acarbose. Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider.
- Diabetes patients - Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. If they are often higher than they should be and you take acarbose exactly as prescribed, tell your doctor.
- Carefully follow the regular testing of urine or blood glucose schedules given to you by your health care provider.
- Do NOT take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
- It may be harder to control your blood sugar during times of stress, such as fever, infection, injury, or surgery. Talk with your doctor about how to control your blood sugar if any of these occur. Do not change the dose of your medicine without checking with your doctor.
- Acarbose does not usually cause low blood sugar. Low blood sugar may be more likely to occur if you skip a meal, exercise heavily, or drink alcohol. It may also be more likely if you take acarbose along with certain medicines for diabetes (eg, sulfonylureas, insulin). Tell your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of low blood sugar (eg, fast heartbeat, headache, chills, sweating, tremors, increased hunger, vision changes, nervousness, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting). It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Because acarbose prevents the breakdown of table (cane) sugar, be sure to use glucose (dextrose), not sugar or fruits, to treat symptoms of low blood sugar. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Serious and sometimes fatal liver problems have happened with acarbose. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, right-sided stomach pain, unusual or severe nausea or tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes).
- Acarbose may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking acarbose.
- Lab tests may be performed while you use acarbose. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking acarbose while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking acarbose.
Possible side effects of acarbose:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Bloating; diarrhea; gas; stomach pain.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; severe or persistent diarrhea or constipation; severe stomach pain; unusual bleeding or bruising.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of acarbose:
Store acarbose below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) in a tightly sealed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep acarbose out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about acarbose, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Acarbose is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take acarbose or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about acarbose. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to acarbose. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using acarbose.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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- Drug class: alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
Other brands: Precose