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Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common reactions to PRECOSE. In U.S. placebo-controlled trials, the incidences of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence were 19%, 31%, and 74% respectively in 1255 patients treated with PRECOSE 50–300 mg t.i.d., whereas the corresponding incidences were 9%, 12%, and 29% in 999 placebo-treated patients.
In a one-year safety study, during which patients kept diaries of gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal pain and diarrhea tended to return to pretreatment levels over time, and the frequency and intensity of flatulence tended to abate with time. The increased gastrointestinal tract symptoms in patients treated with PRECOSE are a manifestation of the mechanism of action of PRECOSE and are related to the presence of undigested carbohydrate in the lower GI tract.
If the prescribed diet is not observed, the intestinal side effects may be intensified. If strongly distressing symptoms develop in spite of adherence to the diabetic diet prescribed, the doctor must be consulted and the dose temporarily or permanently reduced.
Elevated Serum Transaminase Levels
Other Abnormal Laboratory Findings
Small reductions in hematocrit occurred more often in PRECOSE-treated patients than in placebo-treated patients but were not associated with reductions in hemoglobin. Low serum calcium and low plasma vitamin B6 levels were associated with PRECOSE therapy but are thought to be either spurious or of no clinical significance.
Postmarketing Adverse Event Reports
Additional adverse events reported from worldwide postmarketing experience include fulminant hepatitis with fatal outcome, hypersensitive skin reactions (for example rash, erythema, exanthema and uticaria), edema, ileus/subileus, jaundice and/or hepatitis and associated liver damage, thrombocytopenia, and pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis (see PRECAUTIONS).
Pneumatosis Cystoides Intestinalis
There have been rare postmarketing reports of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis associated with the use of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, including Precose. Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis may present with symptoms of diarrhea, mucus discharge, rectal bleeding, and constipation. Complications may include pneumoperitoneum, volvulus, intestinal obstruction, intussusception, intestinal hemorrhage, and intestinal perforation. If pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis is suspected, discontinue Precose and perform the appropriate diagnostic imaging.
Read the Precose (acarbose) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Certain drugs tend to produce hyperglycemia and may lead to loss of blood glucose control. These drugs include the thiazides and other diuretics, corticosteroids, phenothiazines, thyroid products, estrogens, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, nicotinic acid, sympathomimetics, calcium channel-blocking drugs, and isoniazid. When such drugs are administered to a patient receiving PRECOSE, the patient should be closely observed for loss of blood glucose control. When such drugs are withdrawn from patients receiving PRECOSE in combination with sulfonylureas or insulin, patients should be observed closely for any evidence of hypoglycemia.
Patients Receiving Sulfonylureas or Insulin: Sulfonylurea agents or insulin may cause hypoglycemia. PRECOSE given in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause a further lowering of blood glucose and may increase the potential for hypoglycemia. If hypoglycemia occurs, appropriate adjustments in the dosage of these agents should be made. Very rarely, individual cases of hypoglycemic shock have been reported in patients receiving PRECOSE therapy in combination with sulfonylureas and/or insulin.
Intestinal adsorbents (for example, charcoal) and digestive enzyme preparations containing carbohydrate-splitting enzymes (for example, amylase, pancreatin) may reduce the effect of PRECOSE and should not be taken concomitantly.
PRECOSE has been shown to change the bioavailability of digoxin when they are coadministered, which may require digoxin dose adjustment. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Drug-Drug Interactions.)
Read the Precose Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/14/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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