The FDA has assigned a pregnancy Category B rating to glucagon, meaning it is generally considered safe for pregnant women to use it. Animal studies indicate that the drug is not dangerous to the fetus. In fact, glucagon doesn't cross the placenta in humans, so the risk of problems is low. However, if you become pregnant while using this medication, talk to your healthcare provider.
Is Glucagon Safe During Pregnancy?
Glucagon is most well known for its lifesaving use in treating dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with diabetes. It is also used for a few other purposes, such as during diagnostic tests. In general, glucagon is considered to be safe for use during pregnancy.
What Is Pregnancy Category B?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category B is given to medicines that have not been adequately studied in pregnant humans but do not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
Medications that have been shown to be safe for use in pregnancy in humans but have caused problems in laboratory animals are also given a Category B rating.
Animal studies with glucagon have not suggested that the medication is dangerous to a developing fetus. This makes sense, since glucagon is a naturally occurring human hormone. In addition, no problems are expected because glucagon does not cross the placenta in humans.
In almost all cases, the likely benefits of glucagon greatly outweigh any possible risks for both the mother and fetus, since glucagon can be a lifesaving treatment.
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, let your healthcare provider know. He or she will consider the benefits and risks of using glucagon during pregnancy before making a recommendation in your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Glucagon Emergency Kit [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2005 February.
GlucaGen HypoKit [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Novo Nordisk, Inc.;2005 November
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