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What is glucagon used for?

Glucagon injections are given to treat a dangerously low blood sugar. Your child’s provider may also give instructions for using glucagon when your child is vomiting and has low blood sugar (less than 60 mg/dl or 3.3 mmol/L). This situation may happen when your child can’t keep food down.

Glucagon comes in an emergency kit. The glucagon is a powder that must be mixed before use. If you have an emergency kit, be sure you know how to mix the injection and how to give it. If your child has diabetes, you should talk to your provider about the need to keep glucagon on hand in case of an emergency.

How does it work?

Glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. It causes the liver to turn stored sugar into glucose. Glucose is the form of sugar that your body uses for energy. If you have diabetes, your pancreas does not make enough glucagon on its own. The glucagon shot does the work of the pancreas and raises your blood sugar.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Follow the directions that come with your child’s medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when your child needs to take the medicine. Your child should not take more or less than he or she is supposed to take.
  • Try to get all of your child’s prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your child’s medicines are safe to take together.
  • Keep a list of your child’s medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that your child takes. Tell all healthcare providers who treat your child about all of the products your child takes.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause, and what you should do if your child has side effects.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Abstracted from the book, “Understanding Diabetes,” 11th Edition, by H. Peter Chase, MD (available by calling 1-800-695-2873). Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-08-08
Last reviewed: 2010-05-11 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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