Effects of alpha-glucosidase-inhibiting drugs on acute postprandial glucose and insulin responses: a systematic review and meta-analysis

M. Alssema, C. Ruijgrok, E.E. Blaak, L. Egli, P. Dussort*, S. Vinoy, J.M. Dekker, M.D. Robertson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Background/objectives Despite considerable literature supporting the potential health benefits of reducing postprandial glucose (PPG), and insulin (PPI) exposures, the size of a clinically relevant reduction is currently unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify effects of alpha-glucosidase-inhibiting (AGI) drugs on acute PPG and PPI responses. Methods We searched EMBASE and MEDLINE until March 13, 2018 for controlled studies using AGI drugs together with a standardized carbohydrate load or mixed meal. The mean incremental PPG and PPI levels were calculated as outcomes. Meta-analyses, stratified by diabetes state, were performed by using random effects models. Results The 66 included publications comprised 127 drug-control comparisons for PPG, and 106 for PPI, mostly testing acarbose or miglitol. The absolute effects on PPG were larger among individuals with diabetes (-1.5 mmol/l mean PPG [95% CI -1.9, -1.1] by acarbose, and -1.6 [-1.9, -1.4] by miglitol) as compared to individuals without diabetes (-0.4 [95% CI -0.5, -0.3] by acarbose, and -0.6 [-0.8, -0.4] by miglitol). Relative reductions in PPG by both drugs were similar for diabetic and non-diabetic individuals (43-54%). Acarbose and miglitol also significantly reduced mean PPI, with absolute and relative reductions being largest among individuals without diabetes. Conclusions The present meta-analyses provide quantitative estimates of reductions of PPG and PPI responses by AGI drugs in diabetes and non-diabetic individuals. These data can serve as benchmarks for clinically relevant reductions in PPG and PPI via drug or diet and lifestyle interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition & Diabetes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021

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