Effectiveness of acarbose in treating elderly patients with diabetes with postprandial hypotension

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Postprandial hypotension (PPH) is a common condition that occurs primarily in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of acarbose for PPH; it also investigated possible mechanisms behind PPH development. This single-blind, randomized controlled trial included 91 elderly patients with T2DM, aged between 60 and 80 years, who were inpatients at Beijing Hospital between March 2012 and November 2014. The patients were included into one of three groups: Group A, patients with T2DM without PPH; Group B, patients with T2DM with PPH receiving placebo; and Group C, patients with T2DM with PPH receiving acarbose. After an overnight fast, patients received a single dose of acarbose (100 mg) or placebo and then consumed a standardized 450 kcal meal. Blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate (HR), and catecholamine levels were evaluated. Acarbose ameliorated PPH as determined by significant improvements in the duration and maximal fall in blood pressure (both p<0.001); however, no differences in HR and blood glucose levels were observed. In patients with PPH, blood pressure was correlated with blood glucose and HR variability values (p<0.05). Correlations between epinephrine and glucagon-like peptide-1 with blood pressure in groups A and C were largely lost in group B. Acarbose reduced postprandial blood pressure fluctuations in elderly patients with diabetes. PPH may be related to impaired autonomic nervous system function, reduced catecholamine secretion, and postprandial fluctuations in blood glucose levels.Trial registration numberChinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-IPR-15006177.

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