Acarbose (INN) is an anti-diabetic drug used to treat diabetes mellitus type 2 and, in some countries, prediabetes. It is a generic sold in Europe and China as Glucobay (Bayer AG), in North America as Precose (Bayer Pharmaceuticals), and in Canada as Prandase (Bayer AG). It is cheap and popular in China, but not in the U.S. One physician explains the use in the U.S. is limited because it is not potent enough to justify the side effects of diarrhea and flatulence. However, a recent large study concludes "acarbose is effective, safe and well tolerated in a large cohort of Asian patients with type 2 diabetes." A possible explanation for the differing opinions is an observation that acarbose is significantly more effective in patients eating a relatively high carbohydrate Eastern diet 
It is a starch blocker, and inhibits alpha glucosidase, an intestinal enzyme that releases glucose from larger carbohydrates. It is composed of an acarviosin moiety with a maltose at the reducing terminus.