Acarbose: Uses & Side Effects

Acarbose slows the digestion of carbohydrates in the body, which helps control blood sugar levels. Acarbose is used together with diet and exercise to treat type 2 diabetes. Acarbose is sometimes used in combination with insulin or other diabetes medications you take by mouth.


Before taking this medicine

You should not use acarbose if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • inflammatory bowel disease;
  • a blockage in your intestines;
  • a digestive disorder affecting your intestines;
  • intestinal ulcer (of your colon);
  • cirrhosis of the liver; or
  • diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).

To make sure acarbose is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • a bowel or intestinal disorder; or
  • a stomach disorder.

Acarbose is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether acarbose passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using acarbose.

Acarbose is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.


Side effects

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe constipation;
  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; or
  • liver problems–nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • stomach discomfort, gas, bloating;
  • mild diarrhea; or
  • mild skin rash or itching.


Keyword: acarbose.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.