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Diabetes: Glucagon Shot

What is glucagon used for?

Glucagon shots are given to treat a dangerously low blood sugar. It may also be used when your child is vomiting and has low blood sugar because he or she cannot keep food down. Ask your child’s healthcare provider about this.

If your child has diabetes, talk to your provider about the need to keep glucagon on hand in case of an emergency.

How does it work?

Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. It has the opposite effect of insulin. It causes the liver to turn stored sugar into glucose—the form of sugar that your body uses for energy. When a child has type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough glucagon just as it cannot make enough insulin. Insulin is needed to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells and keep the blood sugar from rising too high. And glucagon is needed to keep the level of sugar in the blood from dropping too low. If your child cannot make enough glucagon, he or she may not be able to raise the blood sugar level when it gets too low. The glucagon shot does the work of the pancreas and raises the blood sugar.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Glucagon comes in an emergency kit. The glucagon is a powder that must be mixed before use. Be sure you know how to mix the powder and liquid and how to give the shot.
  • 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.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-02-11
Last reviewed: 2013-02-09
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.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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