Glucagon is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Glucagon is used to raise very low blood sugar. Glucagon is also used in diagnostic testing of the stomach and other digestive organs.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Glucagon is usually given by injection beneath the skin, in the muscle, or in the vein. It comes as a powder and liquid that will need to be mixed just before administering the dose. Instructions for mixing and giving the injection are in the package. Glucagon should be administered as soon as possible after discovering that the patient is unconscious from low blood sugar. After the injection, the patient should be turned onto the side to prevent choking if they vomit. Once the glucagon has been given, contact your doctor. It is very important that all patients have a household member who knows the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to administer glucagon.
If you have low blood sugar often, keep a glucagon kit with you at all times. You should be able to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (i.e., shakiness, dizziness or lightheadedness, sweating, confusion, nervousness or irritability, sudden changes in behavior or mood, headache, numbness or tingling around the mouth, weakness, pale skin, sudden hunger, clumsy or jerky movements). Try to eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it, such as hard candy or fruit juice, before it is necessary to administer glucagon.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain any part you or your household members do not understand. Use glucagon exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Before using glucagon,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to glucagon, any other drugs, or beef or pork products.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have ever had adrenal gland problems, blood vessel disease, malnutrition, pancreatic tumors, insulinoma, or pheochromocytoma.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
Glucagon may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
- loss of consciousness
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Once the injection dose has been mixed, discard any unused portion.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.