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Glucagon

Pronunciation

Generic Name: glucagon (GLOO-ka-gon)
Brand Name: GlucaGen

Glucagon is used for:

Treating severe low blood sugar in patients with diabetes who are unable to take sugar by mouth. Glucagon also may be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Glucagon is a hormone. It works by stimulating the liver to release glucose into the blood.

Do NOT use glucagon if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in glucagon, including lactose
  • you have certain tumors on your adrenal gland (pheochromocytoma) or pancreas (insulinoma)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using glucagon:

Some medical conditions may interact with glucagon. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have adrenal gland problems, heart problems, chronic low blood sugar, a certain tumor on your pancreas (glucagonoma), or diabetes
  • if you are malnourished or have been unable to eat, or if you have been fasting for a long period of time

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with glucagon. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of their side effects, including increased risk of bleeding, may be increased by glucagon
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol) or indomethacin because they may decrease glucagon's effectiveness
  • Anticholinergics (eg, tolterodine) because the risk of stomach or bowel side effects may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if glucagon may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use glucagon:

Use glucagon as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with glucagon. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Carefully follow the instructions for use, and be sure family members, friends, and coworkers know how and when to give you glucagon. Contact your health care provider if you have questions about use. Symptoms of low blood sugar include: sweating; dizziness; irregular heartbeat; tremor; hunger; restlessness; tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or tongue; lightheadedness; inability to concentrate; headache; drowsiness; sleep disturbances; anxiety; blurred vision; slurred speech; depressed mood; irritability; abnormal behavior; unsteady movement; personality changes; seizures; loss of consciousness; confusion.
  • Seek medical attention immediately after use. You may need further medical evaluation. Tell the doctor or health care provider that you have received an injection of glucagon.
  • Do not use glucagon if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • After mixing, use immediately. Throw away any unused portion. Do not use glucagon after the date stamped on the bottle.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of glucagon, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use glucagon.

Important safety information:

  • Always carry a quick source of sugar such as candy or glucose tablets to take at the first warning sign of a low blood sugar reaction.
  • Glucagon should only be given if the patient is unconscious, is having a seizure, or is confused and not able to eat sugar by mouth.
  • Once the patient is awake and able to swallow after giving glucagon, give a fast-acting source of sugar (eg, regular soft drink, fruit juice) and a long-acting source of sugar (eg, crackers and cheese, meat sandwich).
  • Make sure your relatives or close friends know that medical attention is always required if you become unconscious. Patients who are unconscious because of high blood sugar will not respond to glucagon and should not be given candy or glucose tablets.
  • Check blood or urine sugar levels closely, as directed by your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including blood glucose levels, may be performed while you use glucagon. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using glucagon while you are pregnant. It is not known if glucagon is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use glucagon, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of glucagon:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue); fainting; fast or slow heartbeat; severe headache or dizziness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; fast heartbeat; nausea; severe headache or dizziness; vomiting.

Proper storage of glucagon:

Before mixing, store glucagon for up to 24 months between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Store in the original packaging away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. After mixing, use immediately. Do not use glucagon after the expiration date printed on the package. Keep glucagon out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about glucagon, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Glucagon is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take glucagon or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about glucagon. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to glucagon. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using glucagon.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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