This medication is a promising therapy for obese women with PCOS as:

  • It is used to control the postprandial rise in the blood glucose level.
  • It is also used to treat symptoms of PCOS such as hirsutism, acne, and menstrual irregularities.

IUPAC name: (2R,3R,4R,5S,6R)-5-[(2R,3R,4R,5S,6R)-5-[(2R,3R,4S,5S,6R)-3,4-dihydroxy-6-methyl-5-[[(1S,4R,5S,6S)-4,5,6-trihydroxy-3-(hydroxymethyl)cyclohex-2-en-1-yl]amino]oxan-2-yl]oxy-3,4-dihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)oxan-2-yl]oxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)oxane-2,3,4-triol

Drug class: Insulin sensitizing agent

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Brand name: Precose

Is it a prescription drug? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

This medication works by delaying the digestion of carbohydrates which slows the absorption of glucose, resulting in the reduction of postprandial glucose blood concentrations.

It helps in decreasing the PCOS symptoms by reducing the concentration of androgen and increasing androgen binding.

Side effects

Common side effects associated with acarbose are as follows: diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, nausea/vomiting, yellowing of eyes/skin, dark urine, unusual tiredness skin rash/itching, hypoglycemia (when taken with other diabetes medications or if you are not consuming enough calories)

Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor are also seen. 


The use of acarbose is contraindicated in patients who are having:

Diabetic ketoacidosis, liver cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal ulcer (colonic ulceration), hypersensitivity, blockage in your intestines.


Do not eat or drink anything containing carbohydrates for 4-6 hours, in case of overdose.

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