Miglitol | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

miglitol, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Glyset
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Highlights for miglitol

Oral tablet
1

Miglitol is an oral drug that’s used to control high blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It works along with diet and exercise.

2

Miglitol is available as a brand-name drug called Glyset. It’s also available as a generic drug.

3

Common side effects include gas, diarrhea, soft stools, and abdominal pain. These symptoms may only last for the first few weeks of treatment with this drug.

4

When used alone, miglitol doesn’t cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). But if you use it in combination with certain other diabetes drugs, such as insulin, glipizide, glimepiride, repaglinide, or nateglinide, it can cause a low blood sugar reaction.

5

If your kidneys don’t work well, miglitol may build up in your blood. You shouldn’t take this drug if you have poor kidney function.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Times of stress

Your blood sugar is harder to control during times of stress. Tell your doctor if you’re sick, not eating, have a fever, injury, or infection, or had a recent surgery. You may need to stop taking this drug for a time. You may also need to take insulin.

Low blood sugar

When used alone, miglitol doesn’t cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). But if you use it in combination with certain other diabetes drugs, such as insulin, glipizide, glimepiride, repaglinide, or nateglinide, it can cause a low blood sugar reaction. Your doctor may adjust the dose of your other diabetes drugs to avoid this. Symptoms of low blood sugar can include:

  • hunger
  • nervousness
  • shakiness
  • sweating, chills, or clamminess
  • dizziness
  • fast heart rate
  • lightheadedness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • vision changes
  • headache
  • mood changes
  • irritability 

If you have low blood sugar, you should treat it right away. If you don’t, you can pass out or have a seizure. Low blood sugar can even be fatal.

Miglitol slows down how sugar and carbohydrates are absorbed by your body. You must take dextrose, D-glucose, glucose tablets, or glucose gel to treat low blood sugar. Other treatments may not work to treat the reaction.

What is miglitol?

Miglitol is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

This medication is available as a brand-name drug called Glyset. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Miglitol may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Miglitol is used to control high blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It works along with diet and exercise.

How it works

Miglitol belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

Miglitol belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

An enzyme in your intestine called alpha-glucoside hydrolase breaks down carbohydrates into smaller sugars that can be absorbed by the small intestine. Miglitol blocks the action of this enzyme, which slows down the digestion of carbohydrates you eat. This prevents high blood sugar levels after meals.

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miglitol Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that occur with miglitol include:

  • digestive problems, such as:

    • stomach pain
    • diarrhea
    • gas

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • skin rashes

  • Low iron blood levels. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • lightheadedness
    • weakness
    • shortness of breath
  • Digestive problems, such as slowed or stopped movement of food moving through the digestive system. Symptoms can include:

    • stomach pain
    • nausea
    • enlarged stomach
  • Gas-filled cysts in the intestines (pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis). This can lead to blockage in your intestines. Symptoms can include:

    • diarrhea
    • mucus discharge from your rectum
    • bleeding from your rectum
    • constipation
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Miglitol does not cause drowsiness.

This drug decreases your blood sugar after meals. Symptoms can include hunger, tiredness, and shakiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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miglitol May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Miglitol can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Bowel absorbents
  • charcoal

These drugs may make miglitol less effective. This means that it won’t work as well to treat your diabetes. These drugs shouldn’t be used together.

Diabetes drugs
  • sulfonlyureas
  • glitinides
  • insulin

Taking these drugs with miglitol can raise your risk of low blood sugar.

Digestive enzymes
  • amylase
  • pancreatin

These drugs may make miglitol less effective. This means that it won’t work as well to treat your diabetes. These drugs shouldn’t be used with miglitol.

Heart drugs
  • propranolol
  • metoprolol
  • atenolol
  • digoxin

Miglitol may decrease the amount of these drugs in your body. This means that they won’t work as well to treat your condition.

Stomach ulcer/acid drugs
  • ranitidine 

Miglitol may decrease the amount of this drug in your body. This means that they won’t work as well to treat your condition.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Miglitol warnings
bowel problems
People with bowel problems

Certain bowel problems may get worse if you use miglitol. These include ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, colon ulcers, or obstructed bowel. They also include excess gas, delayed stomach emptying, or digestion or absorption problems.

risk of obstructed bowel
People with risk of obstructed bowel

If you have any factors for an obstructed bowel, this drug may further increase your risk.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems, miglitol may build up in your body and cause more side effects. You shouldn’t use this drug if you have poor kidney function.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Miglitol is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has not shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Miglitol may pass into breast milk. This may cause serious effects in a breast-feeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take miglitol or breast-feed.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Tell your doctor if you plan to have or recently had surgery or a bowel cleansing for a procedure. Your doctor may have you stop taking miglitol for a time.

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How to Take miglitol (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Type 2 diabetes

Brand: Glyset

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg

Generic: miglitol

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The standard starting dose is 25 mg taken three times per day with the first bite of each main meal.
  • After 4–8 weeks, your doctor may increase your dose slowly to 50 mg taken three times per day.
  • The maximum dose is 100 mg taken three times per day.
  • To decrease your chance of side effects, your doctor may allow you to start with 25 mg taken once a day with the evening meal. After a few days, you may increase your dose to twice a day. Then after a few more days, you may take the drug three times per day. This allows your body to adjust to the medication.  
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Miglitol comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don't take miglitol on schedule or at all, your blood sugar levels can become very high. This can cause complications of diabetes. These include nerve damage, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and damage to your eyes.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

If you take too much, you’ll have side effects, including:

  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain

Call your doctor if you think you have taken too much of this drug.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, just skip that dose and take your next dose with your next meal.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in more side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your blood sugar levels should be lower. Your symptoms of high blood sugar should also decrease. You may not urinate as often, or be as thirsty or hungry.

Miglitol is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking miglitol
take with food
Miglitol should be taken with food. Take it with the first bite of each meal.
timing
Miglitol should be taken three times per day
do not cut or crush the tablet
Don’t cut or crush the tablet
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
travel
Travel
See Details
self-management
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
diet considerations
Your diet
See Details
hidden costs
Hidden costs
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store miglitol at room temperature between 59°F (15°C) and 86°F (30°C).
  • Don’t freeze miglitol.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription labeled with you.

Self-management

While taking this drug you’ll need to test your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will teach you how to test your blood sugar levels at home.

You may need to buy the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose meter
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

If you’re also taking a sulfonylurea, glitinide, or insulin, you’ll need to buy the following to treat a low blood sugar reaction (hypoglycemia):

  • dextrose
  • D-glucose
  • glucose tablets or gel

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may do blood tests before you begin and during treatment with miglitol to make sure that it’s safe for you to take. These may test your:

  • blood sugar levels
  • glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) levels. This test measures your blood sugar control over the last 2–3 months.
  • kidney function

Your doctor may also do other tests to check for complications of diabetes:

  • eye exam at least once a year
  • foot exam at least once a year
  • dental exam at least once a year
  • tests for nerve damage
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure and heart rate

Your diet

Follow the nutrition plan that your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator told you about.

Hidden costs

While taking this drug you’ll need to test your blood sugar levels. You may need to buy the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose meter
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

If you’re also taking a sulfonylurea, glitinide, or insulin, you’ll need to purchase the following to treat a low blood sugar reaction (hypoglycemia):

  • dextrose
  • D-glucose
  • glucose tablets or gel

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does miglitol Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for miglitol

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for miglitol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for miglitol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 11, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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