Acarbose is used with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Acarbose works in your intestines to slow the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates from foods that you eat. This effect helps lessen your blood sugar rise after a meal.
Diarrhea, gas, or abdominal discomfort/pain may occur as your body adjusts to this medication during the first few weeks. These side effects usually lessen with time. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesnt stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).
Acarbose does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications, or if you do not consume enough calories from food, or if you do unusually heavy exercise. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether the dose of your other diabetes medication(s) needs to be lowered.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. Do not use table sugar or drink non-diet soda to relieve these symptoms because acarbose slows the breakdown of table sugar. Carry glucose tablets or gel with you to treat low blood sugar. If you dont have these reliable forms of glucose, eat some honey or drink a glass of orange juice to quickly raise your blood sugar. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased or you may need other drugs.
This medication may rarely cause a serious intestinal condition (pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis). Tell your doctor right away if you develop: diarrhea that doesnt stop, constipation, blood/mucus in stool.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Before taking acarbose, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: intestine/bowel problems (such as inflammatory bowel disease, blockage, ulcers), kidney problems, liver disease.
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while taking this medication because it can increase your risk of developing low blood sugar.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because this may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Pregnancy may cause or worsen diabetes. Discuss a plan with your doctor for managing your blood sugar while pregnant. Your doctor may change your diabetes treatment during your pregnancy (such as diet and medications including insulin).
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.