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Br J Clin Pharmacol. Sep 1990; 30(3): 391–396.
PMCID: PMC1368141

The effect of miglitol and acarbose after an oral glucose load: a novel hypoglycaemic mechanism?


1. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors such as miglitol and acarbose lower blood glucose after a starch load in healthy volunteers and diabetic patients by interfering with the conversion of disaccharide to monosaccharide in the gastrointestinal tract. 2. The effect of placebo, 100 mg miglitol and 100 mg acarbose given 30 min prior to a 75 g oral glucose load was investigated in nine healthy Caucasian volunteers. 3. Miglitol produced a statistically significant fall in post-peak blood glucose levels when compared with placebo and acarbose. Serum insulin did not change significantly. 4. As miglitol is well absorbed and acarbose is not, it is suggested that miglitol has a systemic hypoglycaemic effect, probably related to its close structural similarity to glucose, which warrants further investigation.

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Selected References

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  • Hillebrand I, Boehme K, Graefe KH, Wehling K. The effect of new alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (BAY m 1099 and BAY o 1248) on meal-stimulated increases in glucose and insulin levels in man. Klin Wochenschr. 1986 Apr 15;64(8):393–396. [PubMed]
  • Joubert PH, Foukaridis GN, Bopape ML. Miglitol may have a blood glucose lowering effect unrelated to inhibition of alpha-glucosidase. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1987;31(6):723–724. [PubMed]
  • Joubert PH, Venter CP, Joubert HF, Hillebrand I. The effect of a 1-deoxynojirimycin derivative on post-prandial blood glucose and insulin levels in healthy black and white volunteers. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1985;28(6):705–708. [PubMed]
  • Schnack C, Röggla G, Luger A, Schernthaner G. Effects of the alpha-glucosidase inhibitor 1 desoxynojirimycin (Bay m 1099) on postprandial blood glucose, serum insulin and C-peptide levels in type II diabetic patients. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1986;30(4):417–419. [PubMed]
  • Walton RJ, Sherif IT, Noy GA, Alberti KG. Improved metabolic profiles in insulin-treated diabetic patients given an alpha-glucosidehydrolase inhibitor. Br Med J. 1979 Jan 27;1(6158):220–221. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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