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Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Oct;41(10):421-40.

Review of acarbose therapeutic strategies in the long-term treatment and in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

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St.-Carolus-Krankenhaus, Medical Department, Görlitz, Germany.


Acarbose--the most extensively investigated and widely prescribed alpha-glucosidase inhibitor--reduces postprandial plasma glucose excursions by delaying the absorption of carbohydrate from the small intestine. Acarbose is an effective first-line therapy for patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, and induces a further improvement in glycemic control when used in combination with other antidiabetes agents. By decreasing postprandial hyperglycemia and improving insulin sensitivity, acarbose therapy also reduces fasting and postprandial serum insulin, fasting plasma glucose, and hemoglobin A1c levels. As the burden of type 2 diabetes continues to grow, there is a great need for an oral antidiabetes agent with a proven ability to prevent the development of micro- and macrovascular complications, and maintain long-term glycemic control. More than 15 years of clinical investigation have confirmed the sustained efficacy, tolerability, and excellent safety profile of acarbose in a wide range of patient types. Furthermore, the results of the recent Study to Prevent Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (STOP-NIDDM) showed that acarbose therapy significantly decreased the risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk individuals with glucose intolerance. Acarbose is therefore a convenient and effective long-term option for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, with the added benefit of reducing cardiovascular risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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