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  • glucagon
 

glucagon

Pronunciation: GLOO ka gon

Brand: GlucaGen, Glucagon Emergency Kit for Low Blood Sugar

What is the most important information I should know about glucagon?

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Glucagon should be used to treat hypoglycemia only if the person cannot eat, passes out, or is having a seizure. Be sure you know how to give a glucagon injection before you need to use it.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, pale skin, irritability, dizziness, feeling shaky, or trouble concentrating. Carry hard candy or glucose tablets with you in case you have low blood sugar. Other sugar sources include fruit juice, crackers, raisins, and non-diet soda. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to glucagon or lactose, or if you have a tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma) or adrenal gland (pheochromocytoma).

Before using glucagon, tell your doctor if you have any tumor of the pancreas, if you have not recently eaten on a regular basis, or if you have chronic low blood sugar.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially indomethacin (Indocin), insulin, a blood thinner (such as Coumadin), or a beta blocker (such as Betapace, Coreg, Corgard, Dutoprol, Inderal, InnoPran, Lopressor, Normodyne, Tenormin, Tenoretic, Toprol, Trandate, and others).

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Hypoglycemia should be treated as quickly as possible. Having low blood sugar for too long can cause seizure, coma, or death. Call your doctor after each time you use a glucagon injection.

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If you are a caregiver, get emergency medical help after giving a glucagon injection. If the patient does not wake up within 15 minutes, you may need to mix a new dose and give a second injection.

What is glucagon?

Glucagon is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels. It also slows involuntary muscle movements of the stomach and intestines that aid in digestion.

Glucagon is used to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Glucagon is also used during a radiologic (x-ray) examination to help diagnose certain disorders of the stomach or intestines.

Glucagon may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using glucagon?

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to glucagon or lactose, or if you have a tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma) or adrenal gland (pheochromocytoma).

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Glucagon should be used to treat hypoglycemia only if the person is unable to eat, or is unconscious or having a seizure.

To make sure you can safely use glucagon, tell your doctor if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • any tumor of the pancreas;
  • if you have not recently eaten on a regular basis; or
  • if you have chronic low blood sugar.

FDA pregnancy category B. Glucagon is not expected to harm an unborn baby, but quickly treating hypoglycemia would outweigh any risks posed by using glucagon.

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It is not known whether glucagon passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible before you are treated with glucagon to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medication.

How should I use glucagon?

Glucagon is injected under the skin, into a muscle, or into a vein. You will be shown how to use emergency glucagon injections for severe hypoglycemia. Call your doctor after each time you use a glucagon injection.

This medication comes with instructions for safe and effective use for you or a caregiver. Become familiar with these instructions and follow them carefully whenever you need to use a glucagon injection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

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Hypoglycemia should be treated as quickly as possible. Having low blood sugar for too long can cause seizure, coma, or death.

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After the injection, you should eat a source of sugar (fruit juice, glucose gel, raisins, non-diet soda) and then eat a snack or small meal such as cheese and crackers or a meat sandwich.

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Be sure you know how to give a glucagon injection before you need to use it. Use half of the adult dose if you are giving an injection to a child younger than 6, or to anyone who weighs less than 55 pounds.

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Glucagon is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Mix a new dose, and call your doctor for instructions if the second dose also has particles after mixing.

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If you are a caregiver, get emergency medical help after giving a glucagon injection. If the patient does not wake up within 15 minutes, you may need to mix a new dose and give a second injection.

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Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them: headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, or trouble concentrating.

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

Check your blood sugar carefully during a time of stress or illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your diabetes medication dose needs may also change.

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Ask your doctor how to adjust your diabetes medication dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

To keep from having severe hypoglycemia, follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

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Store glucagon powder and the diluent at cool room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Throw away any mixed medicine you have not used right away. Do not use this medication after the expiration date on the label has passed.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since glucagon is used as needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor promptly if your symptoms do not improve after using glucagon.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid pulse, or high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats).

What should I avoid after using glucagon?

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Avoid drinking alcohol. It can lower your blood sugar.

What are the possible side effects of glucagon?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; fast or slow heartbeat; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may include nausea or vomiting.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect glucagon?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • indomethacin (Indocin);
  • insulin;
  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • a beta blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Dutoprol, Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), nebivolol (Bystolic), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others.
  • atropine (Atreza, Sal-Tropine), belladonna (Donnatal, and others), benztropine (Cogentin), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), methscopolamine (Pamine), or scopolamine (Transderm Scop);
  • bladder or urinary medicines such as darifenacin (Enablex), flavoxate (Urispas), oxybutynin (Ditropan, Oxytrol), tolterodine (Detrol), or solifenacin (Vesicare);
  • bronchodilators such as ipratropium (Atrovent) or tiotropium (Spiriva);
  • cold or allergy medicine that contains an antihistamine;
  • irritable bowel medicines such as dicyclomine (Bentyl), hyoscyamine (Hyomax), or propantheline (Pro Banthine); or
  • ulcer medications such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul) or mepenzolate (Cantil).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with glucagon. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about glucagon.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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