Glucagon is a medicine that’s different from insulin. It’s used to treat severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Glucagon works by telling your body to release sugar (glucose) into the bloodstream to bring the blood sugar level back up.
Sometimes, if you miss a meal, exercise too much, or don’t eat enough food for the amount of insulin you’ve taken, it can lead to low blood sugar. If not treated quickly, mild or moderate low blood sugar can become severe. In these cases, if you are physically unable to eat or drink a quick source of sugar, you may lose consciousness. When this happens, you’ll need a Glucagon emergency kit.
Giving a Glucagon shot can be scary, but it’s very important to recognize the symptoms of severe low blood sugar and be ready to use Glucagon. Take a moment to become familiar with your Glucagon kit—it’s small and portable and houses all the items needed to administer Glucagon in a bright red case. It’s a good idea to open the case and look at the contents. You and anyone who may need to help you with severe low blood sugar treatment should also know how to use Glucagon before an emergency arises. Be sure to read the Information for the User provided in the kit.
A key to managing an episode of severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is to be prepared. If not treated quickly, mild or moderate low blood sugar can become severe.
Severe low blood sugar is very serious. If it happens, loss of consciousness may occur and you may be physically unable to eat or drink a rapid-acting source of sugar (glucose). If you need a Glucagon shot, a family member, friend, or another adult will need to be ready to give it to you.
Make sure that your relatives and close friends know that if you become unconscious, medical assistance must always be sought. If you are unconscious, Glucagon can be given to you while awaiting medical assistance.
Warning: You may be in a coma from severe hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) rather than hypoglycemia. In such a case, you will not respond to Glucagon and will require immediate medical attention.
Make sure you always have a Glucagon emergency kit with your other diabetes supplies when you’re away from home. It’s important to have more than one kit and consider keeping one at school, at work, with close relatives, and in places where you or your child spends a lot of time. Close friends, co-workers, family members, school nurses, and coaches should know where your kits are and how to use them.
Here’s a handy checklist of some of the most common places to keep Glucagon kits:
*Check with your insurance company to find out how many kits you can get for a single co-pay.
Severe low blood sugar can happen anytime, which makes it important to plan ahead. Look at your kit’s expiration date each time you get a new prescription. The expiration date can be found on the outside label under “Exp. Date/Control No.” on the outer red case, and also on the bottle.* The date will be written as mm yyyy to reflect the month and year of expiration. An expired Glucagon kit should never be used.
You can also set reminders with the Manage My Kits feature within the FREE Glucagon App.
*Although the expiration date on the outside of the kit may be different than the expiration date on the syringe or bottle, it is the outer date (on the back of the red box) you should always refer to. The kit (as a whole) expires when the earliest expiration date of any of the items contained in the kit occurs.
The Lilly Glucagon™ mobile app puts the information you need right in your hands. Ask those close to you to download the app as well so they are better prepared to help if you should ever experience severe low blood sugar.
The FREE Glucagon App lets you:
Be sure to designate several people who can help in case of an emergency. In the event of severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), you may not be able to inject yourself with Glucagon. It may help you and your child feel more at ease to know that several people such as friends, the school nurse, your coach, and co-workers know where your Glucagon emergency kits are located and how to use them in case you experience severe low blood sugar. Consider asking others to download the Glucagon App and view this website.
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Flip off the seal from the vial of Glucagon powder.
Remove the needle cover from the syringe. DO NOT REMOVE THE PLASTIC CLIP FROM THE SYRINGE, as this may allow the push rod to come out of the syringe.
Insert the needle into the rubber stopper on the vial, then inject the entire contents of the syringe into the vial of Glucagon powder.
Remove the syringe from the vial, then gently swirl the vial until the liquid becomes clear. Glucagon should not be used unless the solution is clear and of a water-like consistency.
Insert the same syringe into the vial and slowly withdraw all the liquid. To use on children weighing less than 44 pounds, withdraw half of the liquid (0.5 mark on the syringe).
Cleanse site on buttock, arm, or thigh and inject Glucagon immediately after mixing, and then withdraw the needle. Apply light pressure against the injection site.
Turn the person on his/her side. When an unconscious person awakens, he/she may vomit.
Call 911 immediately after administering Glucagon. If the person does not awaken within 15 minutes, you may administer a second dose of Glucagon, if previously instructed by your healthcare provider to do so.
As soon as the person is awake and able to swallow, give him/her a fast-acting source of sugar (such as fruit juice), followed by a snack or meal containing both protein and carbohydrates (such as cheese and crackers, or a peanut butter sandwich).
Discard any unused reconstituted Glucagon.
Remember to notify your healthcare provider that an episode of severe hypoglycemia has occurred.
These are not the complete instructions. Go to Information for the User for complete instructions on how to administer Glucagon.
Some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Glucagon and severe low blood sugar are here. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Ask Lilly or call your doctor.
Glucagon is a medicine that is different from insulin and is used to treat severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). It works by telling your body to release sugar into the bloodstream to bring the blood sugar level back up. In your Glucagon kit you’ll find a vial of sterile Glucagon, a syringe of sterile fluid with an attached needle, plus the complete Information for the User.
Glucagon must be mixed with the syringe of sterile fluid to dissolve the powder for injection. The solution should be clear and of a water-like consistency at time of use.
Glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. Glucagon raises blood sugar by releasing glucose from the liver.
No, you cannot use the same syringe or kit more than once. Use immediately after mixing and discard any unused portion.
Glucagon can be administered by anyone who is comfortable giving the injection. Show your family members and others where you keep your kit and how to use it. They need to know how to use it before you need it. It is important that they practice. They can practice giving a shot by giving you your normal insulin injection. A person who has never given a shot will probably not be able to do it in an emergency.
Before dissolving Glucagon with diluting solution: Store the kit at room temperature (68° to 77°F). Do not refrigerate or freeze. Keep away from direct sunlight. After dissolving Glucagon with diluting solution: Use immediately and discard any unused portion.
Yes! The expiration date can be found on the outside label under “Exp. Date/Control No.” on the outer red case. The date will be written as mm yyyy to reflect the month and year of expiration.
No. Glucagon kits should never be used past the expiration date—even when stored properly.
Although the expiration date on the outside of the kit may be different than the expiration date on the syringe, it is the outer date (on the back of the red box) you should always refer to. The kit (as a whole) expires when the earliest expiration date of any of the items contained in the kit occurs.
Expired or used kits should be placed in a sharps container. If a designated container is not at hand, place in a sealed, puncture-proof plastic container clearly labeled “contains sharps.” Keep the container away from children. For further information on sharps disposal, visit www.fda.gov and search for “sharps disposal.”
Keep kits with other diabetes supplies wherever you or your child spends time. For children this may be with the school nurse, at daycare, at camp, and with the coach. Adults will want to have a Glucagon kit at the workplace, at home, at the homes of relatives, and in the dorm room. See Be Prepared With Multiple Kits and ask your doctor about getting a prescription for more than one kit in order to have one at multiple locations.
It’s important that the people you or your child spends time with know what to do in case of a severe low blood sugar event. This may include family, friends, and coworkers (caregivers). By downloading the free Glucagon app, they can learn more about how to administer Glucagon and be prepared ahead of time.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood glucose (sugar) levels—usually less than 70 mg/dL.
If not treated, you may progress to severe hypoglycemia. Those symptoms include: disorientation, unconsciousness, seizures, and possible death.
Your best bet for preventing severe hypoglycemia is to practice good diabetes management and to learn to detect it at the first signs. Keep simple carbohydrate snacks such as glucose tablets; small, sugary, chewable candies; and juice boxes handy. Sometimes, even though you are diligent about managing your diabetes, severe hypoglycemia happens. That’s when it’s important for you and others around you to know how to use a Glucagon kit, to know where your kits are located, and to have a kit nearby.
Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates your liver to release stored glucose into your bloodstream when your levels are too low. After injecting Glucagon, an unconscious person will usually awaken within 5-15 minutes and may experience nausea and vomiting. After giving Glucagon, turn the person on his/her side. If vomiting occurs when the person awakens, choking may not occur while in this position. If Glucagon is used, be sure to contact your doctor so that you can discuss ways to prevent hypoglycemia in the future and obtain a new prescription.
Glucagon is a treatment for insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe low blood sugar.
WARNING: YOU MAY BE IN A COMA FROM SEVERE HYPERGLYCEMIA (HIGH BLOOD GLUCOSE) RATHER THAN HYPOGLYCEMIA. IN SUCH A CASE, YOU WILL NOT RESPOND TO GLUCAGON AND REQUIRE IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.
Glucagon should not be used if you have pheochromocytoma or if you are allergic to Glucagon.
Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Tell your doctor if you have been diagnosed with or have been suspected of having pheochromocytoma or an insulinoma.
Glucagon is available by prescription only.