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What Is Acarbose Used For?

Acarbose as Part of Diabetes Treatment

The main goal of any diabetes treatment is to lower your blood sugar levels (as measured by your hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]) enough to reduce your risk of developing problems related to diabetes (see Diabetes Complications).
 
Any type 2 diabetes treatment begins with lifestyle changes (including weight loss, a diabetic diet, and exercise). If lifestyle changes alone are not effective at managing diabetes, diabetes medication, such as acarbose, may be necessary. Some diabetes drugs force the pancreas to produce more insulin (see Acarbose Alternatives). These medications are effective, but can cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Because acarbose does not force the pancreas to make more insulin, there is a low risk of dangerously low blood sugar with acarbose (see Acarbose and Blood Sugar).
 
In some people, acarbose may need to be combined with other diabetes medicines. For example, if type 2 diabetes is untreated for a very long time, the pancreas may not be able to make insulin anymore. In these people, using acarbose alone will not be effective. These people will need to take insulin along with acarbose.
 
(To learn about controlling diabetes through lifestyle choices, click on either of the links below:
 

Acarbose Use in Children

Acarbose has not been adequately studied in children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using acarbose in children with type 2 diabetes.
 
Healthy Eating for People With Diabetes

Acarbose Medication

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