The alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are oral antidiabetic agents. They are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
How do the alpha-glucosidase inhibitors act?
The alpha-glucosidase inhibitors do not act directly on insulin secretion by the pancreas or on insulin sensitivity in muscle cells or adipocytes. As their name suggests, they inhibit the intestinal enzymes which hydrolyse carbohydrates from food. Because of this the carbohydrates are digested and absorbed more slowly, reducing postprandial glycaemia (blood glucose concentrations after a meal).
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
The alpha-glucosidase inhibitors can cause bloating, flatulence or even diarrhoea, particularly when the treatment is started. They are contraindicated in renal impairment, gastro-intestinal problems and in pregnancy.
- Merck Manual – 4th edition ;
- Association française des diabétiques (French Diabetic Association), website accessed on 26 April 2011
The AGIs are antidiabetic agents which act on the intestinal enzymes. © Phovoir
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitor - 1 Photo