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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997 Sep;21(9):756-63.

Small weight loss on long-term acarbose therapy with no change in dietary pattern or nutrient intake of individuals with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To see if the long-term treatment of non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM) with the alpha-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose affects food intake and body weight.


Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design clinical trial of 12 months duration.


Subjects with NIDDM in four treatment strata: 77 on diet alone, 83 also treated with metformin, 103 also treated with sulfonylurea and 91 also treated with insulin.


Two 3 day diet records were obtained before randomization to acarbose or placebo therapy, and additional 3 day diet records were obtained at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after randomization. Body weight was also measured at these times.


Of the 354 subjects randomized, 279 (79%) completed at least 9 months of therapy and, of these, 263 (94%) provided at least one diet record during the baseline period and two diet records during the treatment period. After one year, subjects on acarbose had lost 0.46 +/- 0.28 kg, which differed significantly from the 0.33 +/- 0.25 kg weight gain on placebo (P = 0.027). The difference in weight change between acarbose and placebo did not differ significantly in the different treatment strata. Being in the study had significant effects on diet, including a reduction in energy intake from 1760-1700 Kcal/d (P < 0.05), a reduction in simple sugars intake from 18.5-17.4% of energy (P < 0.001), and reductions in the number of different foods consumed (33-30, P < 0.001) and the number of meals eaten per day (4.7-4.3, P < 0.001). However, compared to placebo treatment, acarbose had no effect on energy intake, nutrient intakes, or dietary patterns.


In subjects with NIDDM on weight-maintaining diets, long-term acarbose therapy results in a small weight loss, but has no effect on energy or nutrient intakes. The weight loss induced by acarbose may be due partly to reduced doses of concomitant oral agents and insulin and partly to energy loss due to increased colonic fermentation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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