What is this medication for?
Acarbose belongs to a family of medications known as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Along with diet and exercise, it is used to lower blood glucose (sugar) for people with type 2 diabetes. Antidiabetes medications such as acarbose are used when diet, exercise, and weight reduction have not been found to lower blood glucose well enough on their own. This medication is often added to other diabetes medications when additional blood glucose control is needed. It works by preventing the breakdown of starch into sugar and helps to lower blood sugar levels after meals.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Acarbose by Watson Labs is available as:
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The usual recommended starting dose is 25 mg 3 times daily, taken with the first bite of each main meal. The dose can be gradually increased as needed to control blood glucose. The maximum daily dose is 100 mg 3 times daily, taken with the first bite of each main meal.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
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Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take acarbose if you:
- are allergic to acarbose or any ingredients of the medication
- have a condition that can be worsened by gas in the bowels (e.g., larger hernias)
- have chronic intestinal diseases that interfere with digestion or absorption
- have cirrhosis (severe liver disease)
- have diabetic ketoacidosis (this condition should be treated with insulin)
- have inflammatory bowel disease or colonic ulceration
- have partial intestinal (small bowel) blockage or are prone to this condition