Acarbose is used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent diabetes). Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Acarbose works by slowing the breakdown of starch (carbohydrates) from the food you eat into sugar, so that your blood sugar level does not rise as much after a meal.
Acarbose may be used with other medications (e.g., insulin, metformin, sulfonylureas such as glipizide) to control diabetes because they work in different ways.