If you have diabetes, you may be wondering, "What is glucagon?" To answer that question, it's important to understand low blood sugar and its treatment. If a person with low blood sugar is awake and able to eat, it is best to treat the low blood sugar with food and/or drink. If the person is unconscious or otherwise unable to eat or drink, it is best to treat low blood sugar with intravenous glucose or dextrose.
However, if these options are unavailable, glucagon can be lifesaving and can awaken the person enough for eating or drinking.
Glucagon is a naturally occurring human hormone. It has several different actions, most notably causing an increase in blood glucose. Glucagon works in the liver to convert glycogen (the stored form of glucose) into glucose (sugar). Everything you need to prepare and inject a dose of this medicine is included in a glucagon kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to give the injection.
(To learn more about what this drug is used for, click Glucagon. This article also covers topics such as how it works, generic availability, what to do if you take too much, and more.)
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
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 9, 2010.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
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