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Drug Facts: Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

Updated: Oct 27


Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors, or simply AGIs, include Acarbose (Precose) and Miglitol (Glyset). AGIs aid in stabilizing blood sugars by reducing the amount of sugar absorbed by small intestines.

These drugs are not commonly used in the United States, but they may be a good fit for some people. The benefits of these drugs include their low to moderate cost, and their low risk of causing hypoglycemia. If you have high blood sugar readings after meals, these drugs can really help. The cons are that they can cause gas, diarrhea and bloating. These GI side effects make sense as AGIs prevent the breakdown of carbohydrates in your small intestines. Your provider can start you off on a low dose to keep side effects to a minimum. The side effects often diminish after some time as well.

AGIs are taken three times a day at the beginning of a meal. Timing is important with this one, so you’ll have to get in the habit of taking these pills with you so you can take them with the first bite of food.

No needs to wait weeks to find out how they’re working - lowering of blood sugars will be seen with the first dose.


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