Fifty-gram carbohydrate tolerance tests were performed on healthy volunteers to test the activity and specificity of an α-glucoside hydrolase inhibitor, acarbose (BAY g 5421). Two hundred milligrams acarbose reduced the area under the blood glucose response curve by 89% (P < 0.001) after sucrose, by 80% (P <0.002) after starch, by 19% (N.S.) after maltose, with no effect on glucose. Breath hydrogen measurements indicated an almost complete malabsorption of the sucrose. At 50 mg acarbose, some reduction in blood glucose and insulin response to sucrose was still seen, but no significant hydrogen production. It is suggested that at lower doses, acarbose may prolong the time course over which carbohydrate is absorbed as does dietary fiber; as with fiber, it may be a useful adjunct to diabetic therapy.

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