What should I know about acarbose before taking it?

Acarbose is used to treat type 2 diabetes, and helps the body regulate blood sugar levels after you eat by slowing the process that converts carbohydrates into glucose. Before you take acarbose, you should know that to successfully control your type 2 diabetes you also need to follow your doctor’s dietary and physical activity recommendations.

Acarbose can cause mild gastrointestinal distress (vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, and stomach pain). If you have digestive problems, kidney or liver disease, chronic bowel inflammation, colon ulcers, a history of intestinal blockage, or intestinal disorders that interfere with nutrient absorption acarbose may not be right for you.

Serious side effects include allergic reaction (skin rash, hives, wheezing or difficulty breathing, tightening of the chest, or swelling of the face and mouth); jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); fever; loss of appetite; gray-colored stools; and dark urine. If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Acarbose is not recommended for children, or for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Acarbose interacts with several medications, as well as with food, so it is a good idea to tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications you are taking.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.