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Curr Med Res Opin. 2001;16(4):296-306.

Comparison of acarbose and gliclazide as first-line agents in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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Metabolism and Diabetes Unit, Institute for Experimental Medical Research, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.



To compare the effect of acarbose and gliclazide on clinical findings, biochemical parameters and safety in type 2 diabetic patients insufficiently controlled with medical nutrition therapy (MNT).


Seventy-two patients (age 35-70 years, BMI < or = 35 kg/m2), who had not taken any oral antidiabetic drug previously, were randomised into two groups after a four-week placebo period, and treated for 24 weeks with acarbose (100 mg two to three times daily) and gliclazide (40-80 mg twice daily). The study was open and 57 patients (33 males and 24 females) completed it. MNT was provided for each patient based on personal requirements as defined by a dietitian. The effect of treatment was evaluated by fasting and postprandial (PP) metabolic parameters (blood glucose, insulin and C peptide levels), HbA1c and plasma lipid levels. In addition, side-effects were recorded and clinical examinations performed.


Both drugs were effective in reducing of HbA1c, fasting and PP blood glucose levels. However, PP serum insulin levels in the gliclazide group increased more than those in the group treated with acarbose (p = 0.007). Moreover, a small weight reduction was obtained with acarbose treatment but not with gliclazide. Lipid levels were favourably affected by both drugs. Total cholesterol levels decreased in both groups, the decrease only reaching significance in the acarbose group (p = 0.013). However, serum levels of LDL cholesterol decreased in both groups (acarbose and gliclazide, p = 0.033 and p = 0.023, respectively), but the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol increased in the acarbose group only (p = 0.045). Both treatments were generally well tolerated. Common complaints in the acarbose group were flatulence and meteorism (29.6%). However, 10.0% of the patients in the gliclazide group reported at least one mild hypoglycaemic episode.


The results of the study demonstrate that acarbose and gliclazide were reasonably effective in improving metabolic control in patients insufficiently controlled with diet alone, and both treatments were well tolerated. Because of its effects on weight reduction and PP hyperinsulinaemia, acarbose may be preferred as a first-line drug, particularly in the treatment of overweight type 2 diabetic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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