Acarbose is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme α-glucosidase in the small intestine. This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of polysaccharides into glucose.
Acarbose can thus retard the glucose uptake, thereby avoiding a peak in blood glucose levels after a meal. The initial dose for acarbose is 50 mg three times a day just before food intake.
I. Administration of acarbose after dinner is recommended.
II. Gastrointestinal complaints are a common adverse effect of acarbose.
Extra info: In order to exert a maximal effect, acarbose should be administered just before dinner. GI problems are frequently present during acarbose therapy. Due to formation of gasses from non-resorbed carbohydrates, flatulence, meteorism and cramps can occur.
If a diabetic patient, who uses acarbose, suffers from acute hypoglycemia, saccharose supply is indicated.
Extra info: In any hypoglycemic case, glucose should be administered. In a diabetic patient on acarbose therapy saccharose would be a bad choice, since acarbose inhibits digestion of polysaccharides and thus retards the conversion of saccharoses into glucose.