1 What is Precose?

Brand: Precose

Generic: Acarbose

Precose is a drug used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It prevents the breakdown of starch into glucose and lowers the blood sugar level.

Normally, when we eat, insulin is produced by the pancreas which causes uptake of glucose in blood by the cells to lower blood sugar and to help utilize glucose for energy manufacturing.

In type 2 diabetes mellitus, insulin production is not sufficient for utilization of glucose and hence blood sugar level rises. Acarbose decreases this rise in blood sugar level by not allowing the breakdown of complex food molecules into glucose subunits.

This drug can be used alone or in combination with another drug called sulfonylurea, which stimulates insulin production by the pancreas. Acarbose is available in the form of the tablet only on a doctor’s prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Precose. It is important that the doctor let the patient know about all the details associated with the drug. The patient should clarify all the doubts or any queries in mind about the drug usage and its effects.

  • A detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case, it is more likely that a drug is started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in the record to predict any drug interaction.
  • Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition by which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
  • Age-specific analysis of patients helps in keeping a safety profile. Some drugs are suitable for one age group and lethal for the other; hence it is necessary to have assessment while keeping age in view. Studies in children and elderly have revealed that it has similar effects in these groups as in young adults. There are not adequate studies to rule out its safety for use in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Drug interactions may occur when multiple drugs are used together. There are certain medications which interfere with the working of this drug and may even make conditions worse. Such drugs include fluoroquinolone antibiotics, anti-hormonal agents, some oral anti-diabetics drugs, beta blockers, cardiotonic, antituberculosis drugs, hallucinogens, blood thinners and anti-clotting agents. The physician decreases the dose of either of these drugs. The patient should also consult about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and certain foods on the drug.
  • Other medical conditions may lead to severe effects on the body and may also decrease the efficacy and removal of the drug. The patient should inform the doctor about these conditions in detailed medical history to avoid complications. These conditions include diabetic ketoacidosis, fever, infection, recent surgery or trauma, digestion problems, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal blockage or any other intestinal problem, kidney and liver disease.

3 Proper Usage

To use Precose properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Follow the dosage and meal plan made by the consulting physician.

It is taken before the meal for better effects. If any dose is missed, skip it and continue with the rest of the cycle.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Precose, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. Precautions are vital for any therapy to work at an optimum rate. These are also necessary to decrease the side effects or at least make these manageable.

Some precautions which should be observed while being on this drug include:

  • Doing exercise will aid in its working by decreasing blood sugar level.
  • Check for sugar in blood and urine regularly.
  • Avoid alcohol as it may lead to severely low blood sugar level.
  • Do not start any other drug, prescription or non-prescription, without consulting your doctor.
  • Counselling of patient and family members is necessary to modify lifestyle for better diabetes control.
  • Keep a recent prescription and detailed medical history along while travelling.
  • Wearing an ID or neck chain, stating that this is a diabetic patient and all the drugs used, will be a good idea to help in emergency situations.
  • Low blood sugar is not caused by acarbose alone. It happens when it is used with another drug or one has missed a meal or due to any reason. It is an emergency condition and blood sugar should be restored to normal as soon as possible to prevent unconsciousness and serious injuries as a consequence.
  • High blood sugar may occur due to non-compliance to drug and meal plan.
  • Storage of drug should in a dry environment with room temperature. Keep it away from the reach of children.

5 Potential Side Effects

Like any other drug, Precose results in unwanted side effects on the body. It is important that the patient adheres to the therapy and consult the physician in case of any effect.

Side effect profile of this drug is quite minimal if used alone and may rarely cause yellowing of eyes or skin. If it is used with other anti-diabetics, it may cause hypoglycemia and result in drowsiness, dizziness, and unconsciousness.