Why is this medication prescribed?
Acarbose is used (with diet only or diet and other medications) to treat type 2 (noninsulin- dependent) diabetes (high blood sugar). Acarbose works by slowing the action of certain chemicals that break down food to release glucose (sugar) into your blood. Slowing food digestion helps keep blood glucose from rising very high after meals.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Acarbose comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken three times a day. It is very important to take each dose with the first bite of each main meal. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take acarbose exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take acarbose even if you feel well. Do not stop taking acarbose without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking acarbose,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acarbose or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other medications for diabetes, digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics ('water pills'), estrogens, isoniazide, medications for high blood pressure or colds, oral contraceptives, pancreatic enzymes, phenytoin (Dilantin), steroids, thyroid medications, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ketoacidosis, cirrhosis, or intestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or bowel obstruction.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking acarbose, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking acarbose.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. It is important to eat a healthful diet. Alcohol increases blood sugar; ask your doctor for information on how much is safe to drink.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If you will be having a snack soon, take a dose with the snack. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from acarbose are not common, they can occur. If you have any of these symptoms, eat glucose or dextrose to treat symptoms, [e.g., glucose tablets (B-D Glucose) or glucose gel (Glutose, Insta-Glucose, or Insulin Reaction)], NOT table sugar or fruit juice, and call your doctor immediately; symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) include:
- rapid heartbeat
- sweating or confusion
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling of the mouth
- pale color
- sudden hunger
If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately; symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:
- dry mouth
- dry skin
- frequent urination
- loss of appetite
- trouble breathing
If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- loss of consciousness
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to acarbose.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.