Classes Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitor
Antidiabetic Agent
Metabolic Agent
Diseases Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Hormonal Disorder


Acarbose is an alpha glucosidase inhibitor. Alpha glucosidase is an enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrate to monosaccharides. Therefore, acarbose inhibits the production of glucose and reduces postprandial blood glucose level.

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

  • Initial dose: The recommended starting dose of acarbose is 25 mg taken orally three times per day at the beginning (first bite) of each main meal. Some patients, however, may benefit from more gradual dose titration to reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Maintenance Dosage: Once a 25 mg t.i.d. dose regimen is established, acarbose dosage should be adjusted every 4-8 weeks based on one-hour postprandial glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin levels and tolerance. The daily dose can be increased from 25 mg to 50 mg. Some patients may benefit from increasing the dosage to 100 mg twice daily. The daily maintenance dose ranges from 50 mg to 100 mg.
  • Maximum Dosage: The maximum recommended dose for patients ≤ 60 kg is 50 mg t.i.d. The maximum recommended dose for patients > 60 kg is 100 mg t.i.d. 

Commonly associated side effects of acarbose are-

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • flatulence
  • liver problems
  • There have been no clinical studies demonstrating conclusive evidence of Acarbose or any other anti-diabetic drug lowering macrovascular risk.
  • Acarbose plasma concentrations in renally impaired volunteers increased proportionally to the degree of renal dysfunction.
  • Blood glucose tests should be performed on a regular basis to monitor the therapeutic response to Acarbose. The measurement of glycosylated hemoglobin levels is recommended for long-term glycemic control monitoring.


Contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to acarbose.

Acarbose is contraindicated in-

  • diabetic ketoacidosis
  • cirrhosis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • colonic ulceration
  • partial intestinal obstruction 
  • chronic intestinal diseases