The Effect of the Timing and the Administration of Acarbose on Postprandial Hyperglycaemia


Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, Schulstraße 31, 60594 Frankfurt am Main, Germany


To clarify the optimum timing for ingestion of acarbose, a 100 mg dose of this oral hypoglycaemic agent was administered 30 min before, at the beginning, and 15 min after ingestion of a test meal, and the effects of the drug on blood glucose rises were compared with increases observed after a control meal (no drug). Twenty-four patients with Type 2 diabetes were included in a randomized, open, cross-over study. The smallest increases in blood glucose (p < 0.001) occurred when acarbose was taken at the beginning and 15 min after starting the test meal (3.3 ± 1.6 mmol I−1 and 3.3 ± 1.4 mmol I−1). The increase in blood glucose levels when acarbose was taken 30 min before the test meal was significantly higher (4.2 ± 1.8 mmol I−1) and it was at its maximum following the control meal (5.2 ± 1.7 mmol I−1). Similar results were observed when the effects of acarbose on insulin and C-peptide levels were measured. It is recommended that patients should be instructed to take acarbose with their first mouthful of food.