Acarbose (By mouth)
Helps control blood sugar in patients who have diabetes mellitus.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to acarbose or if you have a bowel disorder such as colitis, Crohn's disease, or a blockage in your bowel.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often.
- Take your medicine at the start (with the first bite) of your main meals.
If a dose is missed:
- If you remember the dose while you are still eating or right after you finished your meal, take the dose right away. Otherwise, wait until your next main meal to take your medicine.
- You should not use two doses at the same time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the tablets at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep the medicine bottle closed tightly.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Certain drugs can increase the level of sugar in your blood and make it harder for you to control your diabetes. Some of these drugs are diuretics (water pills such as Lasix® or Dyazide®), steroids (such as Prednisone®), Dilantin®, estrogen, birth control pills, niacin, and some kinds of cold and allergy drugs. Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking any of these drugs.
- Certain medicines used to help digest food (such as Donnazyme®, Pancrease®, or Creon®) should not be taken with acarbose.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Talk to your doctor before taking this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or any problems with your bowels.
- Because of the way acarbose works, it is likely to cause gas. This is normal and should go away over time.
- To keep your diabetes under control, follow the diet that your doctor ordered, exercise regularly, and test your urine or blood for sugar as your doctor ordered.
- Acarbose by itself should not cause low blood sugar the way some other medicines to treat diabetes can. But, if you also take other anti-diabetes medicine, acarbose can work with these other medicines to make your blood sugar even lower.
- If your blood sugar gets too low, you may feel weak, drowsy, confused, or very hungry. You may also sweat, shake, or have blurred vision, a fast heartbeat, trouble concentrating, or a headache that won't go away.
- Make sure you know what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. Teach your friends, co-workers, or family members what they can do to help you if you have low blood sugar.
- You may need to keep a supply of glucose tablets or gel with you to treat low blood sugar. Regular table sugar may not work as well for low blood sugar, because acarbose keeps your body from absorbing regular sugar quickly.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Gas, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013