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How do you administer a glucagon injection kit?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on March 28, 2023.

Official answer


Glucagon injection kits have everything you need inside them to give an emergency injection of glucagon if somebody’s blood sugar level drops below 50 mg/dL.

Symptoms of very low blood sugar include:

  • Confusion
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Difficulty eating or drinking due to confusion or being uncooperative
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures.

Severe low blood sugar is an emergency and you should not leave the person alone.

Place the person in the recovery position and call 911.

An injection of glucagon will bring up a person’s blood sugar quickly. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Flip the seal off the vial of glucagon powder.
  2. Remove the needle cover from the syringe but be careful not to remove the plastic clip from the syringe as this may allow the plunger to come out of the syringe.
  3. Insert the needle into the rubber stopper of the vial and inject the entire contents of the syringe into the glucagon powder.
  4. Take the needle out of the vial and then gently swirl the vial until the liquid becomes clear. Do not use the contents if they remain cloudy.
  5. Insert the same needle and syringe back into the vial and slowly withdraw all the liquid if using for an adult, or half the contents to the 0.5mL mark on the syringe if using for a child under the age of 6.
  6. Glucagon can be injected into a person's upper arm, thigh, or buttock. Clean the site to be injected with an alcohol swab first if you have one.
  7. Insert the needle straight into the person’s skin in one quick motion (the needle should be straight up and down at a 90-degree angle to the skin).
  8. With your thumb push the plunger all the way down until all the medication is injected. Once the syringe is empty, pull it out.
  9. Turn the person on their side as they may feel nauseous or vomit and turning them on their side will prevent them from choking.
  10. The person should respond within 15 minutes, if they do not do so, call 911 again.
  11. Once the person has responded and is able to swallow, give them some carbohydrate (approximately 15g) such as glucose tablets, sips of orange juice, a tablespoon of honey, or other sweetened beverage.
  12. Wait another 15 minutes, and recheck the blood sugar. If they aren’t at their goal blood sugar (usually 80 to 130 mg/dL), administer another 15g of carbohydrate and wait another 15 minutes.
  13. Once at their goal blood sugar, frequently monitor the person every two to three hours to ensure they remain stable. Regular eating patterns should also be established.

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