What is this medication for?
Glucagon belongs to the group of medications called hyperglycemic agents. It is used to treat severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when someone with insulin-treated diabetes is unable to give glucose to themselves (e.g., unconscious). Symptoms of severely low blood sugar include disorientation, unconsciousness, and seizures.
This medication works in the liver to produce glucose (sugar) and increase blood sugar. It usually works within 10 to 15 minutes. If a person does not respond to this after 10 to 15 minutes, get immediate medical attention. Another dose may be given when waiting for medical help.
Glucagon can also be used as part of certain radiologic tests to temporarily reduce the movement of the stomach and intestines.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
GlucaGen® is available as:
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
For the treatment of low blood sugar, the usual dose for adults and children who weight more than 25 kg (55 lbs) and are 6 years and older is 1 mg (1 unit) injected into the muscle.
For children who weigh less than 25 kg (55 lbs) and are younger than 6 years, the dose is 0.5 mg (0.5 unit) or based on body weight.
To give a glucagon injection, first prepare the injection. Do not prepare the injection until the medication is needed. Once prepared, use it immediately and do not store for later use.
- Remove the plastic cap from the vial.
- Pull the needle cap cover off the syringe
- Insert the needle through the rubber stopper (within the marked circle) and inject the water for injections into the vial containing the freeze-dried glucagon.
- Without taking the needle out of the vial, shake the vial gently until the glucagon is completely dissolved and the solution is clear.
- Make sure the plunger is completely down. While keeping the needle in the liquid, slowly withdraw the solution back into the syringe.
- Remove any air bubbles from the syringe by tapping on the needle with the needle pointing upwards and push the plunger slightly to release any air that has collected at the top of the syringe.
- Continue to push the plunger until you have the correct dose.
- Inject into a muscle.
As soon as someone responds to this medication, they should eat glucose (e.g., candy, orange juice, regular pop) to prevent low blood sugar from returning and contact their doctor.
When used as part of a radiologic test, the dose of glucagon will be determined by the doctor overseeing the test.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Store this medication at room temperature for up to 24 months, protect it from freezing and light, and keep it out of the reach of children.
This medication is available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under "What form(s) does this medication come in?"
Who should NOT take this medication?
Glucagon should not be used by anyone who:
- is allergic to glucagon or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- has pheochromocytoma (tumor on the adrenal glands)