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GlucaGen Side Effects

Generic name: glucagon

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 6, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about glucagon. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name GlucaGen.

For the Consumer

Applies to glucagon: injection powder for solution

Other dosage forms:

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, glucagon (the active ingredient contained in GlucaGen) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking glucagon:


Incidence not known

  • Chest tightness
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • lack or loss of strength
  • paleness of the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • slow or fast heartbeat

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of glucagon may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to glucagon: injectable powder for injection, nasal powder, subcutaneous solution


The more commonly reported adverse reactions have included nausea, vomiting, and headache; nasal and ocular symptoms including watery eyes and nasal congestion and itching have been reported with nasal administration.[Ref]


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactic reactions

Frequency not reported: Generalized allergic reactions[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 18.3%)

Frequency not reported: Dysgeusia (nasal), parosmia (nasal)


Hypoglycemia/hypoglycemia coma have been reported in patients using this drug as a diagnostic aid, especially among those patients who have fasted.

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypoglycemia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hypoglycemia coma


Frequency not reported: Watery eyes, itchy eyes, redness of eyes

Watery eyes, itchy eyes, and eye redness were reported when adult patients were specifically questioned if these symptoms were present; some increase in symptom severity was reported by 58.8%, 21.6%, 24.8%, respectively. Symptom worsening of watery eyes, itchy eyes, and eye redness were reported by 47.2%, 16.7%, 13.9%, of pediatric patients, respectively.


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 26.1%), vomiting (up to 15%)

Rare (less than 0.1%): Abdominal pain

Frequency not reported: Throat irritation (nasal)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Pruritus

Postmarketing reports: Necrolytic migratory erythema (with continuous glucagon (the active ingredient contained in GlucaGen) infusions)


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Bradycardia, tachycardia, hypotension, hypertension


Upper respiratory tract irritation including rhinorrhea, nasal discomfort, nasal congestion, cough, and epistaxis were reported in 12.4% of adult patients in pooled studies of IM and nasal glucagon (the active ingredient contained in GlucaGen) In pediatric studies, upper respiratory tract irritation including nasal discomfort, nasal congestion, and sneezing were reported in up to 16.7% of patients. When adult patients were questioned specifically if symptoms of nasal congestion, nasal itchiness, runny nose, sneezing, or itchy throat were present and worsened 42.5%, 39.2%, 34.6%, 19.6%, and 12.4% reported some increase in symptom severity, respectively; 41.7%, 27.8%, and 25% of pediatric patients reported some increase in symptom severity of nasal congestion, nasal itchiness, and runny nose, respectively.

Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract irritation (up to 16.7%)

Frequency not reported: Nasal pruritus (nasal)


Frequency not reported: Itching of ears

Frequently asked questions


1. "Product Information. GlucaGen (glucagon)." Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc (2001):

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

4. "Product Information. Baqsimi (glucagon)." Lilly, Eli and Company (2019):

5. "Product Information. Glucagon (glucagon)." Lilly, Eli and Company (2001):

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.