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Diabetes Metab. 2002 Jun;28(3):195-200.

Acarbose improves indirectly both insulin resistance and secretion in obese type 2 diabetic patients.

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Division of Therapeutic Education for Chronic Diseases, University Hospital Geneva, Switzerland.



Acarbose is an oral antidiabetic mainly acting on postprandial blood glucose, inhibiting alphaglucosidase. Through this mechanism, it could improve the peripheral insulin sensitivity and/or increase the insulin secretion. The aim of the present study is to assess the therapeutic efficacy of Acarbose in obese type 2 diabetic patients on both insulin resistance and insulin secretion.


17 obese non insulin-dependent diabetic patients, well controlled with diet alone were randomized into 2 groups: acarbose (2 x 50 mg) or placebo during 16 weeks. A glucagon test allowed to evaluate insulin secretion before and after treatment as well as a triple test (glucose-insulin-somatostatin) with indirect calorimetry allowed to evaluate insulin sensitivity.


A significant improvement in post-prandial plasma glucose was detected only in the Acarbose group (8.0 +/- 0.5 mmol/l before vs 6.5 0.5 mmol/l after, p<0.05). Basal C-peptide secretion was similar between groups and remained unchanged after treatment. However, stimulated insulin secretion was significantly increased by 30%, p<0.05, in the Acarbose group while no change was detected in the placebo group. Interestingly, the group receiving Acarbose disclosed a 15% reduction in insulin resistance (15.0 +/- 1.8 mmol/l before vs 12.8 +/- 1.4 mmol/l after).


Our results show that a treatment with Acarbose is efficient even in diabetic patients presenting a good glucose control without any other associated treatment. By decreasing post-prandial blood glucose, acarbose improves both insulin sensitivity and secretion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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