(-)-N-(trans-4-Isopropylcyclohexanecarbonyl)-D-phenylalanine (A-4166) is a new nonsulfonylurea hypoglycemic agent that lowers blood glucose by stimulating insulin release. In the present study, we examined the effects of A-4166, voglibose (an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor), and glibenclamide (a sulfonylurea) on the postprandial glycemic increase in rats with or without diabetes mellitus. Oral administration of A-4166 (25-100 mg/kg) dose-dependently decreased blood glucose with a rapid onset and short duration in normal rats. On the other hand, glibenclamide (1-4 mg/kg) showed a slower onset of its hypoglycemic action, and voglibose (0.2 mg/kg) had no effect. In the case of postprandial glucose excursion, the carbohydrate-induced increase in blood glucose was reduced by oral administration of either A-4166 or voglibose without causing sustained hypoglycemia in both normal and neonatal streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. However, the efficacy of voglibose varied with the type of carbohydrate load. Glibenclamide produced a prolonged decrease in blood glucose without any appreciable effect on the initial glucose excursion. After sucrose loading, plasma insulin levels during the initial 1 h were significantly higher in A-4166-treated rats than in control rats, while voglibose completely inhibited the insulin response to sucrose. In glibenclamide-treated rats, an augmented insulin response was not seen. In conclusion, unlike other hypoglycemic agents, A-4166 suppresses postprandial glucose excursions by stimulating the early phase of insulin secretion.