Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors


People who have a history of stomach or bowel trouble should not use alpha-glucosidase inhibitors.

After meals, your digestive enzymes break down the sugars and starches that you eat into glucose. The glucose then enters your blood. This is why your blood glucose levels are usually higher right after you eat. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors work by stopping the enzymes that digest the starches that you eat. This means your body digests what you eat at a much slower rate. And this causes a slower and lower rise in your blood glucose levels during the day, especially after meals.

Possible Side Effects of Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

You may have these side effects when you take an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • gas

People who have a history of stomach or bowel trouble should not use alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Not everyone who takes alpha-glucosidase inhibitors will have these side effects. You should not be afraid to take your medicine because of the side effects listed. They are listed so that you can watch out for them.

Possible Drug Interactions With Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

Before you take an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, tell all your doctors and your pharmacist about all the medicines you take. Include medicines you take for diabetes as well as for any other problem. Tell them about everything you take and how much you take each day, including all of the following.

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • herbs
  • vitamin and mineral supplements

It's best to keep an updated list of these and bring a copy to give to your doctor. That way you can add to it whenever you take something new or delete the types you no longer take. Make a copy for each of your doctors so that they can keep it in your file. This complete list helps your doctor be better prepared to prescribe diabetes pills that are the least likely to interact with your other treatments.

Many medicines can have harmful effects when you take them with other medicines. Always tell your doctor about all the medicines that you take. Do not use any other medicine without your doctor's OK.


More to Explore