Common Brand Name(s): Glucagen
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
This medication is the same as your body's own glucagon, a natural substance that raises blood sugar by causing the body to release sugar stored in the liver. It is used to quickly increase blood sugar levels in diabetics with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) who cannot take a quick source of sugar (e.g., fruit juices, table sugar, regular soda) by mouth.
Glucagon is also given before some X-ray procedures of the gut to slow down the movement of the stomach, intestines, and colon, thereby giving a better X-ray picture.
How To Use
This medicine comes with a Patient Information Leaflet and Instructions for Use Leaflet. Read them carefully. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this medicine.
Keep this product near you at all times. Talk with your doctor about when you should use this product. This medication is given by injection. Learn in advance how to properly inject this medication so you will be prepared when you actually need to use it. Also teach a family member or caregiver what to do if you cannot inject the medication yourself.
Friends and relatives of a diabetic patient should know the symptoms of low blood sugar (see also Precautions section) and be instructed on how to give glucagon if necessary. The patient should be treated as soon as possible during an episode of low blood sugar in order to prevent serious effects (e.g., brain damage).
Prepare the medication as directed. Before using, check the product visually for particles, cloudiness, gel-like thickening, or discoloration. If any of these are present, do not use the liquid. After preparation, use the medication right away. Discard any unused liquid.
Inject this medication into a vein, into a muscle, or under the skin as directed by your doctor. For children, the dosage may be based on their weight.
If the patient is unconscious, turn the patient on their side to avoid choking in case they vomit, and inject the glucagon. Seek immediate medical treatment. If the patient does not wake up in 15 minutes, the dose may be repeated.
When the patient wakes up and is able to swallow, a quick sugar source (e.g., glucose tablets, juice) should be given. Glucagon is only effective for a short time, and low blood sugar may return. The blood sugar level should be kept up by eating snacks such as crackers, cheese, meat sandwich, or milk. The blood sugar should be checked regularly as directed by the doctor.
Always call your doctor right away when an episode of low blood sugar has occurred. You may need more medical treatment, or your insulin dose and diet may need to be adjusted.
Nausea, vomiting, and fast heartbeat may occur. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- fast/pounding heartbeat
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using glucagon, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma)
- adrenal gland problem (e.g., Addison's disease, pheochromocytoma)
- frequent alcohol use
- heart disease (coronary artery disease)
- not eating/poor eating habits
- frequent low blood sugar
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. Symptoms include cold sweat, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, shaking, fast heartbeat, headache, fainting, seizures, tingling of the hands/feet, and hunger. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor about the reaction right away. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk but it is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood sugar levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not freeze. Keep product in the original package to protect from light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised July 2016.
Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.