Acarbose - Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes

What is acarbose?

Acarbose is a sugar and is classified as pseudotetrasaccharide due to its structure. As a drug, it is used for the treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus) as a so-called oral antidiabetic agent. Obtained the substance from bacteria of the genus Actinoplanes

It was developed as a remedy for diabetes by Walter pulse at Bayer (Glucobay).


Acarbose inhibits α-glucosidase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and tri- to glucose and other monosaccharides in the intestine. This should increase the blood sugar levels after meals (postprandial) is reduced. Because this mode of action of acarbose is suitable for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2.

Acarbose side effects

Under the effect of acarbose escapes strength of the small intestine digestion. In the colon, this starch is fermented under enhanced butyric acid formation. This leads to the typical side effects that limit the application significantly, such as bloating, bowel sounds, diarrhea, abdominal pain and occasional nausea.

Other Effects

Besides its application as drug acarbose was awarded in 1996 the potential to be used as an effective prophylaxis against tooth decay. Clinical relevance has not ensue.

Trade Names

Acarbose is available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland under the name Glucobay and under the generic name in the trade.

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