Acarbose is used to treat type 2 diabetes (long-term condition in which the body gradually becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin).
This medicine helps treat your diabetes by keeping your blood sugar under control.
Acarbose is meant to be taken as part of a complete diabetes care programme that should include exercise, a healthy diet and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.
Take Acarbose exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take this medicine at the start with the first mouthful of each main meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on your response and tolerance to the medication.
Acarbose must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- inflammation or ulceration of the bowel
- bowel obstruction
- conditions that may worsen due to increased gas formation in the intestine e.g. hernia (a condition when an internal organ pushes through a weak spot in the muscle or tissue)
- intestine disease that affects your proper digestion and absorption of food
- diabetic ketoacidosis (complication of diabetes characterised by high levels of blood acid in your body)
- liver disease
as Acarbose may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- stress-related states e.g. fever, trauma, infection
- severe kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going to have an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Acarbose.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. Routine tests (e.g. blood sugar level, liver and kidney function) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
If you are taking Acarbose with other types of oral anti-diabetic medicines, you may have been warned about hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This medicine itself does not usually cause hypoglycaemia, but it may increase the hypoglycaemic effect of other oral anti-diabetic medicines.
How do I know if I am experiencing hypoglycaemia?
Hypoglycaemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include dizziness, tremor, shaky hands, feeling hungry, weak or confused, sweating. These signs are your body’s way of warning you that your blood sugar level is low.
It is important to recognise these symptoms and get relief for hypoglycaemia quickly, as the hypoglycaemia may worsen.
What should I do if I am experiencing hypoglycaemia?
Always carry some glucose tablets (also known as dextrose tablets) with you. Take 15 grams of glucose tablet at first sign of hypoglycaemia, wait for 15 minutes and re-check your blood sugar level. If you are not feeling better or if your blood sugar level is still low (less than 4 mmol/L or 70 mg/dL), take another 15 grams of glucose tablet.
Get medical help should symptoms did not improve after second serving.
As Acarbose delays the digestion and absorption of certain types of sugar in the body, taking foods containing cane sugar (e.g. table sugar, hard candies) are unsuitable for immediate relief of symptoms. Take glucose tablets to quickly treat hypoglycaemia. Make sure that you always carry some glucose tablets if you are being treated with this medicine.
Acarbose may cause any of the following side effects: stomach wind or pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and indigestion.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following: yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark coloured urine, tiredness, and swelling in the legs and ankles.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- other medicines for diabetes e.g. insulin, glimepiride
- medicines containing enzymes that help digestion e.g. amylase, pancreatin
- digoxin (medicine for heart disease)
- colestyramine (cholesterol-lowering medicine)
- neomycin (certain antibiotic)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Acarbose.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
It is important for you to maintain a healthy diet and weight in order to help keep your diabetes under control.
It may be helpful to discuss your diet plan with your doctor or dietitian to manage your weight and blood sugar levels.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from moisture.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.