Precose (Acarbose) Dosage and Side Effects
PRECOSE (acarbose) is a prescription drug used to help control blood-sugar levels in people who have type 2 diabetes. Acarbose is an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, a type of drug that helps control glucose levels by slowing your body's digestion of carbohydrates (starches and sugars) in food.
Proper Use of this medication
Take each dose with the first bite of each main meal.
Try to take PRECOSE at the same time each day to help you remember your doses.
Your dosage will be based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.
Your doctor will probably start you on a lower dose of the drug and gradually increase it.
You will probably monitor your blood-sugar levels after meals and share the information with your doctor to decide on dosage changes.
The aim is to find the lowest effective dose with the fewest side effects.
Only people who weigh more than 132 pounds (60 kilograms) should take more than 50 milligrams (mg) per meal (150 mg per day).
The manufacturer recommends that no one exceed more than 300 milligrams (mg) per day of PRECOSE.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully when taking this medicine. Don't take more of the drug than is prescribed.
If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison-control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of PRECOSE
If you miss a dose of PRECOSE, take it as soon as you remember.
If you plan on having a snack soon, take your dose with the snack.
If it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular dosing schedule. Don't double up on doses.
Common Side Effects of PRECOSE
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
- Mild stomach pain, gas, or bloating
- Mild diarrhea
- Mild itching or skin rash
Serious Side Effects of PRECOSE
Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, which include hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Severe itching
- Severe stomach pain
- Severe constipation
- Diarrhea that's watery or bloody
- Unusual bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin
- Upper stomach pain, nausea, or loss of appetite
- Dark urine or clay-colored stools
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
Warnings and Precautions
Before taking PRECOSE, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- An intestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a bowel obstruction
- Cirrhosis of the liver or any other type of liver disease
- Any kind of stomach or digestion problem
- Ketoacidosis, a serious condition that occurs after an untreated high-blood-sugar (hyperglycemic) episode
Tell your healthcare provider that you're taking PRECOSE before having any type of surgery, including a dental procedure.
Regular sugar (sucrose) won't work if you use it to treat a low blood-sugar episode while taking PRECOSE.
In case you need to treat mild or moderate low blood sugar, be sure you always have an oral glucose (dextrose) tablet to take by mouth.
You should know the symptoms of a high (hyperglycemic) and low (hypoglycemic) blood-sugar episodes and what to do if you experience them.
Taken alone, PRECOSE is not expected to trigger a low blood-sugar event, but it might if taken with some other drugs.
Tell your physician if you experience illnesses, fevers, injuries, or unusual stress while taking PRECOSE, because these kinds of events can change your blood-sugar levels and may affect the dosage you need.
Avoid taking a digestive enzyme that can make it harder for your body to absorb PRECOSE, such as pancreatin, amylase, or lipase. Some of the products that contain these enzymes are:
Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Don't stop taking PRECOSE without first talking to your doctor.
Your physician will probably want to check your glucose levels often while you are on the drug. Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider and laboratory for tests.
Always wear a diabetic identification (ID) bracelet to be sure you get proper treatment in case of an emergency.
Pregnancy and PRECOSE
PRECOSE is an FDA Pregnancy Category B drug, which means it's not expected to harm an unborn baby.
However, there have not been adequate studies of PRECOSE in pregnant women, so you shouldn't take it unless you definitely need to.
You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It's not known whether PRECOSE passes into breast milk or could harm a breastfeeding baby.
You shouldn't breastfeed while taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor.
PRECOSE and Weight Loss
PRECOSE may help people with diabetes lose weight, though the results of studies have been mixed.
Interactions with this medication
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially the enzymes listed in the Warning section or any of the following:
- Any medications you take for diabetes and blood-sugar control
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Medicines for high blood pressure or colds
- Medications to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Oral contraceptives
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Thyroid medications
- Nicotine patches or gum
- Diet pills
PRECOSE and Alcohol
Alcohol can affect your blood-sugar levels.
Talk to your doctor about consuming alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.