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What are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow the digestion of carbohydrates in the small intestine. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors available in the US include acarbose (Precose) and miglitol (Glyset). These drugs are taken by mouth. They are sometimes prescribed alone or in combination with other diabetes drugs.

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Acarbose (Precose) and meglitol (Glyset) are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. These drugs help the body to lower blood glucose levels by blocking the breakdown of starches, such as bread, potatoes, and pasta in the intestine. They also slow the breakdown of some sugars, such as table sugar. Their action slows the rise in blood glucose levels after a meal. They should be taken with the first bite of a meal. These drugs may have side effects, including gas and diarrhea.

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