Optimum effectiveness of intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitors: Importance of uniform distribution through a meal Academic Article uri icon


  • A major barrier to the widespread clinical use of an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor such as Acarbose, is the unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms of carbohydrate malabsorption associated with its use. Acarbose is usually administered as a tablet and eaten with the first mouthful of the meal, making its uniform distribution through the meal unlikely. In the present study, Acarbose was crushed to a powder and mixed through a test meal before it was consumed. Six healthy young men consumed test meals containing 75 g carbohydrate either as whole brown rice or as ground brown rice. When Acarbose was uniformly mixed through a ground rice meal prior to digestion it produced dose-dependent reductions in the postprandial glucose, insulin and GIP responses which were evident at doses as low as 12.5 mg. The responses to whole brown rice were intermediate between those to 12.5 and 25 mg Acarbose in ground brown rice. In tablet form Acarbose was only one quarter as effective in flattening the post prandial glucose and insulin responses as it was in powder form. These results highlight the importance of uniform distribution of Acarbose through a carbohydrate meal in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in delaying digestion and absorption and yet not promoting carbohydrate malabsorption.

publication date

  • March 1, 1985