acarbose

Definition / meaning of acarbose

A complex oligosaccharide used as a hypoglycemic agent in diabetes management. Acarbose inhibits enzymes required in catabolism of carbohydrates, specifically pancreatic alpha-amylase, which hydrolyzes complex starches to oligosaccharides in the lumen of the small intestine, and the membrane-bound intestinal alpha-glucosidases, which hydrolyze oligosaccharides, trisaccharides, and disaccharides to glucose and other monosaccharides in the small intestine. When acarbose is orally administered, less digestion of complex carbohydrates occur and less glucose is absorbed in the small intestine, thereby producing a smaller rise in postprandial blood glucose levels after a carbohydrate load.

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The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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