Glucagon

Why is this medication prescribed?

Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Glucagon is used to raise very low blood sugar. Glucagon is also used in diagnostic testing of the stomach and other digestive organs.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Glucagon is usually given by injection beneath the skin, in the muscle, or in the vein. It comes as a powder and liquid that will need to be mixed just before administering the dose. Instructions for mixing and giving the injection are in the package. Glucagon should be administered as soon as possible after discovering that the patient is unconscious from low blood sugar. After the injection, the patient should be turned onto the side to prevent choking if they vomit. Once the glucagon has been given, contact your doctor. It is very important that all patients have a household member who knows the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to administer glucagon.

If you have low blood sugar often, keep a glucagon kit with you at all times. You should be able to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (i.e., shakiness, dizziness or lightheadedness, sweating, confusion, nervousness or irritability, sudden changes in behavior or mood, headache, numbness or tingling around the mouth, weakness, pale skin, sudden hunger, clumsy or jerky movements). Try to eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it, such as hard candy or fruit juice, before it is necessary to administer glucagon.

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain any part you or your household members do not understand. Use glucagon exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using glucagon,

•tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to glucagon, any other drugs, or beef or pork products.

•tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.

•tell your doctor if you have ever had adrenal gland problems, blood vessel disease, malnutrition, pancreatic tumors, insulinoma, or pheochromocytoma.

•tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Glucagon may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

•nausea

•vomiting

•rash

•itching

Brand names

•GlucaGen® Diagnostic Kit

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