Acarbose Improperly Used for Weight Loss

Posted on 14 Mar 2013 19:35

Acarbose is one of a group of oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates) which inhibit enzymes of starch and disaccharide digestion. It was introduced in 1990 by Bayer AG, Germany under the trade name Glucobay. In the U.S. it is marketed under the name Precose. Other trade names are Glumida and Prandose. It is also available in generic.

Specifically, acarbose is called an alpa-glucoside inhibitor as it inhibits the action of alpha-amylase and alpha-glucoside enzymes which are both responsible for hydrolyzing complex carbohydrates in the small intestine. By delaying the absorption of glucose after meals, acarbose is therefore useful in controlling rises in blood glucose levels after meals for Diabetes mellitus type II therapy. Acarbose can be used when diet alone fails to control blood glucose levels. Insulin dependent patients can also sometimes have benefit from acarbose because of the reduction in the exaggerated rise in blood glucose level after a meal.

Acarbose was discovered by researchers at Bayer during a screening of the culture broth of Actinoplanes, a bacteria of the genera actinomycetes, which are organisms with characteristics of both bacteria and fungi, but considered bacteria.

Acarbose has been improperly marketed as a 'starch blocker' to accelerate fat loss for the general population, with little evidence of efficacy, as it does not normally induce weight loss or malabsorbtion.

General Adverse Side Effect of Acarbose

The major side effects of acarbose are flatulence, abdominal pain and discomfort, abdominal bloating (distension), and diarrhea. These can be severe enough to prevent acarbose from being used. Also possible are more severe effects such as liver impairment or toxicity with jaundice. Acarbose could be dangerous to those with an intestinal obstruction, malabsorption, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, colonic ulceration, and diabetic ketoacidosis. It has also been known to affect the sense of taste.

Acarbose should only be used under the supervision of a physician and for blood sugar control, in line with its documented use as an antibiabetic drug. Acarbose has no efficacy in fat loss.

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This page created 14 Mar 2013 19:35
Last updated 20 Jul 2016 05:51

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