Digestive diseases and sciences vol:37 issue:7 pages:1057-64
The effect of acarbose on hydrolysis of a pure starch meal was investigated in normal subjects and ileostomy patients by means of 13CO2 breath tests and blood glucose levels as parameters of absorption, and of H2 breath tests, serum acetate levels, and ileal loss of carbohydrate as parameters of malabsorption. Additional information on the effect of acarbose on alpha-amylase activity was obtained by in vitro experiments. Acarbose (200 and 400 mg) significantly delayed starch absorption. Serum acetate was found to be a less sensitive marker of malabsorption than breath H2 excretion. After intake of 50 g starch plus 400 mg acarbose, 23-71% of the starch load was lost in the ileostomy effluent, for a large part as starch. This suggests that acarbose considerably inhibits alpha-amylase, and not only brush-border enzymes. In vitro experiments confirm that an inhibition of two thirds of alpha-amylase activity can be expected from pharmacologically used doses of acarbose.