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Miglitol is a desoxynojirimycin derivative that delays the digestion of ingested carbohydrates, thereby resulting in a smaller rise in blood glucose concentration following meals. As a consequence of plasma glucose reduction, Miglitol (Glyset) tablets reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin in patients with Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Systemic nonenzymatic protein glycosylation, as reflected by levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, is a function of average blood glucose concentration over time.

Mechanism of Action

In contrast to sulfonylureas, Glyset does not enhance insulin secretion. The antihyperglycemic action of miglitol results from a reversible inhibition of membrane-bound intestinal alpha-glucoside hydrolase enzymes. Membrane-bound intestinal alpha-glucosidases hydrolyze oligosaccharides and disaccharides to glucose and other monosaccharides in the brush border of the small intestine. In diabetic patients, this enzyme inhibition results in delayed glucose absorption and lowering of postprandial hyperglycemia.

Because its mechanism of action is different, the effect of Glyset (Miglitol) to enhance glycemic control is additive to that of sulfonylureas when used in combination. In addition, this medication diminishes the insulinotropic and weight-increasing effects of sulfonylureas.

Miglitol (Glyset) has minor inhibitory activity against lactase and consequently, at the recommended doses, would not be expected to induce lactose intolerance.



Absorption of miglitol is saturable at high doses: a dose of 25 mg is completely absorbed, whereas a dose of 100 mg is only 50% - 70% absorbed. For all doses, peak concentrations are reached in 2-3 hours. There is no evidence that systemic absorption of miglitol contributes to its therapeutic effect.


The protein binding of miglitol is negligible ( < 4.0%). Miglitol has a volume of distribution of 0.18 L/kg, consistent with distribution primarily into the extracellular fluid.


Miglitol (Glyset) is not metabolized in man or in any animal species studied. No metabolites have been detected in plasma, urine, or feces, indicating a lack of either systemic or pre-systemic metabolism.


Glyset (Miglitol) is eliminated by renal excretion as unchanged drug. Thus, following a 25-mg dose, over 95% of the dose is recovered in the urine within 24 hours. At higher doses, the cumulative recovery of drug from urine is somewhat lower due to the incomplete bioavailability. The elimination half-life of miglitol from plasma is approximately 2 hours.

Special Populations

Renal Impairment

Because miglitol is excreted primarily by the kidneys, accumulation of miglitol is expected in patients with renal impairment. Patients with creatinine clearance < 25 mL/min taking 25 mg 3 times daily exhibited a greater than two-fold increase in miglitol plasma levels as compared to subjects with creatinine clearance > 60 mL/min. Dosage adjustment to correct the increased plasma concentrations is not feasible because miglitol acts locally. Little information is available on the safety of miglitol in patients with creatinine clearance < 25 mL/min.

Hepatic impairment

Miglitol (Glyset) pharmacokinetics were not altered in cirrhotic patients relative to healthy control subjects. Since miglitol is not metabolized, no influence of hepatic function on the kinetics of miglitol is expected.


No significant difference in the pharmacokinetics of miglitol was observed between elderly men and women when body weight was taken into account.


Several pharmacokinetic studies were conducted in Japanese volunteers, with results similar to those observed in Caucasians. A study comparing the pharmacodynamic response to a single 50-mg dose in Black and Caucasian healthy volunteers indicated similar glucose and insulin responses in both populations.

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