Diabetes Treatment (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is the treatment for diabetes?
- Medications for type 2 diabetes
- Meglitinides - (Prandin and Starlix)
- Medications that decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver
- Medications that increase glucose excretion by the kidney
- Medications that increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin (Actos and Avandia)
- Medications that decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine (Precose)
- Medications that affect glycemic control (Symlin, Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon)
- DPP-IV inhibitors
- Combination medications
- Treatment of diabetes with insulin
- Different methods of delivering insulin
- Pre-filled insulin pens
- Insulin pump
- Inhaled Insulin
- Intranasal, Transderm
- Diabetes diet
- The future of pancreas transplantation
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
Medications that decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine
Before being absorbed into the bloodstream, carbohydrates must be broken down into smaller sugar particles, such as glucose, by enzymes in the small intestine. One of the enzymes involved in breaking down carbohydrates is called alpha glucosidase. By inhibiting this enzyme, carbohydrates are not broken down as efficiently and glucose absorption is delayed.
Learn more about: Precose
The name of the alpha glucosidase inhibitor available in the U.S. is acarbose (Precose). In clinical trials with over 700 patients, the use of Precose was associated with a reduction in hemoglobin A1c values (a well known measurement of average blood sugars over the preceding three months) that was significantly greater than the use of placebo (no treatment). However, as a single agent, Precose is not as effective as the other medications for diabetes. Since Precose works in the intestine, its effects are additive to diabetic medications that work at other sites, such as sulfonylureas. Clinical studies have shown statistically better control of blood glucose in patients treated with Precose and a sulfonylurea compared to the sulfonylurea alone. Precose is currently used alone or in combination with a sulfonylurea.
Precose is taken three times a day at the beginning of meals. The dosage varies from 25 to 100mg with each meal. The maximum recommended dose is 100mg three times a day. At doses greater than this, reversible abnormalities in liver tests may be seen. Because of its mechanism of action, Precose has significant gastrointestinal side effects. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas are common and are seen in up to 75% of patients taking Precose. For this reason, Precose is administered using a low initial dose that is increased over weeks depending on the patient's tolerance. Most of the gastrointestinal symptoms tend to subside over the course of a few weeks although some patients report persistent problems.
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