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Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:357-67. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S28340. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Critical evaluation of the role of acarbose in the treatment of diabetes: patient considerations.

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Specialist for Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sachsenhausen Hospital, Frankfurt/ Main, Germany.


The alpha-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose has been used for more than 20 years in the management of hyperglycemia. Owing to its unique mode of action in the gastrointestinal tract, its properties are very different from other antidiabetic medications. Patients on long-term treatment to control a chronic disease are not only interested in good treatment efficacy, but are also even more interested in the safety and side effects of their medications. Significant aspects of acarbose predominantly regarding safety and tolerability in the management of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are reviewed. It is concluded that acarbose is a convenient long-term treatment option, with benefits for both type 2 diabetics and patients in a prediabetic state.


acarbose; patient considerations; prediabetes; side effects; type 2 diabetes

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