Diabetes Home > Glucagon Overdose

Using too much glucagon could cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and temporary high blood pressure. However, the effects are usually minor and tend to resolve fairly quickly. In almost all cases, the dangers of extreme low blood sugar greatly outweigh any overdose risks, so people should not be overly concerned with using too much.

Can You Take Too Much Glucagon?

Glucagon is an injectable medication approved to treat dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and for use in certain diagnostic tests. It is also used "off-label" for the treatment of overdoses with beta blockers or calcium channel blockers.
Since glucagon is typically a lifesaving drug, and since the effects of an overdose are usually not serious, it is usually recommended that people not worry about giving too much glucagon, especially when treating low blood sugar.

Effects of a Glucagon Overdose

Expected effects of an overdose with glucagon include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Temporary slowing of the digestive tract
  • Temporary high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Temporary rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia).
Because the effects of a glucagon overdose are typically minor and short-lived, and because untreated low blood sugar can be fatal, most people should not worry about accidentally giving an overdose of this medication.

Treating an Overdose of Glucagon

Treatment will likely involve supportive care. This consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. For example, supportive treatment options for a glucagon overdose may include:
  • Fluids through an intravenous line (IV)
  • Close monitoring of vital signs
  • Potassium supplementation
  • Medications to treat nausea and vomiting
  • Medications to control the heart rate or blood pressure
  • Other treatments based on complications that occur.
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you or someone else may have taken too much glucagon.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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