An inhibitor of alpha glucosidase that retards the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine and hence reduces the increase in blood-glucose concentrations after a carbohydrate load. It is given orally to non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus patients where diet modification or oral hypoglycemic agents do not control their condition. (From Martindale The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 31st ed)
Humans and other mammals
For treatment and management of diabetes type II (used in combination therapy as a second or third line agent)
Used to reduce blood gluose in patients with type 2 diabetes. Acarbose is a complex oligosaccharide that delays the digestion of ingested carbohydrates, thereby resulting in a smaller rise in blood glucose concentration following meals. Acarbose binds to and inhibits alpha amylase and alpha-gluocside hydrolases. In diabetic patients, this enzyme inhibition results in a delayed glucose absorption and a lowering of postprandial hyperglycemia.
Mechanism of action
Acarbose reversibly bind to pancreatic alpha-amylase and membrane-bound intestinal alpha-glucoside hydrolases. These enzymes inhibit hydrolysis of complex starches to oligosaccharides in the lumen of the small intestine and hydrolysis of oligosaccharides, trisaccharides, and disaccharides to glucose and other monosaccharides in the brush border of the small intestine.