Alpha glucosidase inhibitor

There is only one tablet of this type used, called acarbose. It is usually used when a healthy diet and physical activity alone has been unsuccessful, although it is sometimes used together with a sulphonylurea.

Acarbose works by slowing down the absorption of starchy foods from the intestine. This means that blood glucose levels rise more slowly after meals. Acarbose should always be chewed with the first mouthful of food or swallowed whole with a little liquid immediately before the meal.

Medications in the Alpha-glucosidase family

Name Trade name
Acarbose Glucobay

Side effects

All medication has side effects and you should check the patient information leaflet (PIL) supplied with your medication to see which side effects you might experience from your particular medication. Remember that you are unlikely to experience all side effects that are listed, and you may not experience any at all. If you do, speak to your doctor as there may be another diabetes medication you could try instead.