Precose, a new oral drug from Bayer, was recently granted market clearance by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Precose, also called acarbose, works differently than current drugs. By slowing the digestion of carbohydrates in the small intestine, Precose decreases the rise in blood sugar that typically occurs after eating. As a result, the drug allows the body’s own insulin to better regulate blood glucose levels.
“When diet and exercise fail, Precose can be an ideal treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes,” says Harold Lebovitz, MD, Professor of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. “Precose significantly reduces after-meal glucose levels. In addition, unlike sulfonylurea drugs, Precose does not cause hypoglycemia, hyperinsu-linemia, or weight gain.”
According to Bayer, side effects of the drug “tend to be gastrointestinal in nature, such as flatulence, abdominal distention, and diarrhea due to fermentation of undigested carbohydrates. However, these symptoms have been moderate and generally diminish over time.”
Says Frank Vinicor, MD, MPH, President of the ADA, “Type 2 diabetes is a serious, complex disease best managed through an individualized treatment plan. Acarbose offers physicians and the diabetes healthcare team a new tool in determining the best course of treatment for people with type 2 diabetes and for helping them achieve glycemic control.”
Precose has been available for over four years in Europe under the brand name Glucobay.
Mean Change in HbA1c in Fixed Dose Monotherapy Studies
Dose of Precose}Change in HbA1c
(three times per day)
}25 mg }decreased 0.44
}50 mg }decreased 0.77
}100 mg }decreased 0.74
Doses in excess of 100 mg three times per day are not recommended