An alpha-glucosidase inhibitor can help control blood glucose levels in a patient with diabetes mellitus. These drugs should not be used if certain conditions are present.


alpha-Glucosidase inhibitors include:

(1) acarbose (Precose)

(2) miglitol (Glyset)


Mechanism of action: decreased rate of absorption of carbohydrates from the gastrointestinal tract following meals


Contraindications to their use:

(1) renal failure

(2) liver disease (hepatic cirrhosis, hepatitis, etc)

(3) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis)

(4) ulceration in the small or large intestine

(5) intestinal obstruction

(6) diabetic ketoacidosis

(7) hypersensitivity to alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

(8) irritable bowel disease


Problems that may arise from the use of these agents:

(1) excessive gas (as luminal bacteria digest the carbohydrates)

(2) diarrhea

(3) bloating and abdominal discomfort


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.