Glucagon

Generic Name: Glucagon

  • What is Glucagon?

    Glucagon is a medicine used to treat severe low blood sugar levels. Also, glucagon is used as a diagnostic aid in the radiologic examination of your stomach, bowel, or colon. Glucagon can be administered subcutaneously (just below the skin), intramuscularly (injected into the muscle), or intravenously (through a vein in your arm).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Glucagon?

    Make sure that your relatives or close friends know that if you become unconscious, they must always get medical help for you.

    Glucagon may have been prescribed so that your family members can give you the injection if you have very low blood sugar levels and are unable to take sugar by mouth. If you are unconscious, glucagon can be given while awaiting medical help.

    Show your family members and others where you keep the glucagon kit and how to use it. They need to know how to use it before you need it. They can practice giving you a shot by giving you your normal insulin shots. It is important that they practice; a person who has never given a shot probably will not be able to do it in an emergency.

    Glucagon is used to treat insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe low blood sugar. Symptoms of severe low blood sugar are disorientation, unconsciousness, and seizures. Glucagon is given if you are unconscious, unable to eat sugar or a sugar-sweetened product, if you are having a seizure, or if repeated administration of sugar or a sugar-sweetened product (such as a regular soft drink or fruit juice) does not improve your condition.

    It is recommended that you regularly monitor your daily diet, insulin use, and exercise, and that you always carry sugar or candy so that you can take it at the first warning sign of a low blood sugar reaction. Tell your doctor when you experience low blood sugar so that your treatment regimen can be adjusted if necessary.

    To prevent severe low blood sugar, you and your family members should be informed of the symptoms of mild low blood sugar and how to treat it appropriately. Early symptoms are anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, palpitations (fluttery or throbbing heartbeat), sleep disturbances, and sweating.

    You should use glucagon with caution if you have a history of pheochromocytoma (tumor of your adrenal gland), insulinoma (tumor in your pancreas that produces too much insulin), or both. If you have insulinoma, administration of glucose can cause low blood sugar. If you are experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar after a dose of glucagon, you should be given glucose by mouth, intravenously, or by gavage (forced feeding, especially through a tube passed into the stomach). Also, if you have pheochromocytoma, the administration of glucose can cause an increase in your blood pressure.

    Glucagon can cause allergic reactions that may result in death if not immediately treated. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience rash, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, or lightheadedness.

  • Who should not take Glucagon?

    Do not use glucagon if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients, or if you have pheochromocytoma.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Glucagon?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with glucagon. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of pheochromocytoma, insulinoma, or are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Low Blood Sugar

    Adults and children ≥44 pounds: The recommended dose is 1 milligram (mg) (1 unit) once.

    Children <44 pounds: The recommended dose is 0.5 mg (0.5 unit) once, or your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child based on their weight.

    Diagnostic Aid

    Adults: Your doctor will administer the appropriate dose for you, based on the site of examination and the route of administration.

  • How should I take Glucagon?

    Use glucagon exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not inject extra doses or use more often without asking your doctor.

    Turn patient on his/her side to prevent from choking if he/she is unconscious.

    The contents of the syringe are inactive. You must mix the contents of the syringe with the glucagon in the accompanying bottle before giving the injection.

    Please review the instructions that came with your prescription on how to properly use your glucagon kit.

  • What should I avoid while taking Glucagon?

    Do not prepare glucagon for injection until you are ready to use it.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Glucagon?

    No significant interactions have been reported with glucagon at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

  • What are the possible side effects of Glucagon?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: allergic reactions, low blood pressure, lung or breathing problems, nausea, rash, vomiting

  • Can I receive Glucagon if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of glucagon during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Glucagon?

    Glucagon should be given under special circumstances determined by your doctor.

  • How should I store Glucagon?

    Store at room temperature.