Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Decreased response: Over a period of time, blood glucose may be less easily controlled with acarbose or other diabetes medications because of worsening of diabetes. If acarbose fails to lower your blood glucose to target levels, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may stop and replace acarbose or have another blood glucose-lowering medication added to it.
Diabetes complications: Acarbose (or any other antidiabetic agent) has not been shown to prevent the development of complications peculiar to diabetes, although the onset of such complications is delayed by good blood glucose control.
Diet: Acarbose must be taken along with a proper dietary regimen and not seen as a substitute for diet.
Illness or stress: It is possible to lose control of blood sugar during illness or stressful situations such as infection, trauma, or surgery. Under these conditions, your doctor may consider stopping the medication and prescribe insulin until the situation improves.
Liver or kidney disease: If you have kidney or liver disease you should use caution while taking acarbose and should be closely monitored by your doctor.
Low blood sugar: Because of the way it works, acarbose will not cause low blood sugar when taken on its own. However, acarbose may increase the risk of low blood sugar caused by sulfonylurea medications such as glyburide if taken at the same time. See information on glyburide for further details about signs and management of low blood sugar.
Sucrose usage: Increased use of sucrose (cane sugar) and foods that contain sugar or starch can lead to stomach problems (e.g., flatulence and bloating) as well as loose stools and, occasionally, diarrhea.
Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies on the use acarbose by pregnant women. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if acarbose passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of acarbose for children and adolescents less than 18 years old have not been established.