It has been previously demonstrated that hyperglycaemia activates haemostasis; diabetes mellitus is considered a thrombosis-prone state. Acarbose, by inhibiting dietary carbohydrate absorption, reduces post-meal hyperglycaemia. In this study we evaluated the effect of post-meal hyperglycaemia on two markers of coagulation activation: prothrombin fragments 1 + 2 and D-dimer. Seventeen non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients maintained on diet therapy alone were randomly assigned to receive- with a cross-over study design-acarbose (100 mg orally) or placebo before a standard meal. Blood samples for measurement of plasma glucose, insulin, prothrombin fragments 1 + 2 and D-dimer were drawn at 0, 60, 120 and 240 min. After both placebo and acarbose, hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia which followed a standard meal were accompanied by a significant increase of plasma concentration of prothrombin fragments 1 + 2 and D-dimer in comparison to their baseline values. Acarbose administration significantly reduced the rise of glucose, insulin, prothrombin fragments 1 + 2 and D-dimer from 0 to 240 min in comparison to placebo. We conclude that post-meal hyperglycaemia, at the level reached by many diabetic patients on diet therapy alone, induces a coagulation activation. Acarbose, by decreasing post-meal hyperglycaemia, may be useful in reducing meal-induced activation of haemostasis in diabetic patients.