Endocrine System Home > Acarbose Alternatives

Several alternatives to acarbose are available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. These include lifestyle changes, other oral diabetes medications, and insulin or other injectable diabetes drugs. There may be situations in which lifestyle changes alone are not effective at controlling type 2 diabetes. In these situations, other diabetes medications, such as sulfonylureas, biguanides, or meglitinides, may be necessary.

Alternatives to Acarbose Explained

Acarbose (Precose®) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The medicine is part of a group of diabetes drugs called alpha glucosidase inhibitors.
For most people, acarbose is well tolerated and is effective at treating diabetes. However, as with all medicines, it is possible that acarbose may not completely control a person's diabetes or that side effects occur during treatment with the drug. Fortunately, there are several substitutes for acarbose to treat type 2 diabetes.
Some of these acarbose alternatives include:

Oral Diabetes Medicines

Fortunately, there are many different types of oral medications available to treat type 2 diabetes. Some of these include:
  • Alpha glucosidase inhibitors
  • Biguanides
  • Sulfonylureas  
  • Meglitinides
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase inhibitors
  • Ergot alkaloids 
  • Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2 inhibitors)
  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • Combination medications.
Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitors
These medications prevent the breakdown of sugar and carbohydrates in the digestive tract, which slows their absorption. These drugs are used to decrease blood sugar levels after meals. In addition to acarbose, there is one other alpha glucosidase available -- miglitol (Glyset®).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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