glucagon (generic name)

It increases blood sugar
(GLOO ka gon)
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What is this medicine?

GLUCAGON (GLOO ka gon) occurs naturally in the body. It increases blood sugar. This medicine is used as an emergency treatment for severely low blood sugar in diabetic patients, especially if they are not able to take sugar by mouth. It is also used as a diagnostic aid in X-ray examinations of the stomach and other digestive organs.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • pancreatic tumors
  • pheochromocytoma
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to glucagon, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for injection into a muscle. You will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Instructions for mixing and giving the injection are included in the package. Before an emergency arises, you and the person(s) most likely to give you the injection should read these instructions carefully. Use exactly as directed. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this medicine may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What may interact with this medicine?

This medicine is only used during an emergency. Significant drug interactions are not likely during that time.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

If you often have periods of low blood sugar, keep this kit with you at all times. Wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have diabetes, and carry a card that lists all your medications.

Show your family members and others where you keep this kit and how to use it. They need to know how to use it before you need it. They can practice by giving you your normal insulin shots. It is important that they practice. A person who has never given you a shot will probably not be able to do it in an emergency.

Symptoms of low blood sugar vary from person to person. Learn to recognize your own. They can include: confusion, cool, pale skin or cold sweats, drowsiness, extreme hunger, fast heartbeat, headache, nausea, vomiting, nervousness or anxiety, shakiness or unsteadiness, tiredness, weakness, or visual changes. Eat or drink something sweet (fruit juice, honey, soft drinks, sugar or sugar water, or syrup) if you get these symptoms. If you do not feel better, ask someone to help you get to a doctor, health care professional or emergency room right away. Do not attempt to drive yourself. Also, remind the person that he/she may need to give you a glucagon injection before medical treatment is available.

After a response to an injection of glucagon, you should eat or drink some carbohydrates to prevent secondary hypoglycemia.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • chest pain or fast, irregular heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness or light headedness
  • muscle cramps
  • unusual weakness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • nausea, vomiting
  • rash, itching

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Last Updated: April 29, 2009
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