Glucagen is a hormone used as an emergency medicine in the treatment of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) in patients with diabetes mellitus who cannot take sugar from the mouth or have passed out. Hypoglycemia can occur in patients with diabetes due to an overdose of insulin.
Glucagen can relax the muscles of stomach and bowel. This relaxing effect can be used during x-rays to make the patient more comfortable during the test. Glucagon is only available with your doctor's prescription.
Glucagen can be used in certain patients with the following medical conditions or undergoing certain medical procedures, even though these indications are not mentioned in product instructions:
Removing food or an object stuck in the esophagus
Overdose of beta-adrenergic blocking medicines
Hysterosalpingography (x-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes)
Overdose of calcium channel blocking medicines
This product is available in the following dosage forms:
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2 What to Know Before Using
Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Glucagen. So, the benefits of a drug should always be weighed against its associated risks. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them.
Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:
Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.
Age-specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group has revealed that there are no specific side effects in children. Its safety and efficacy have not been established in children. The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, that would limit the use of this drug in old age group.
Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “B” category, which means that clinical trials on animals have not revealed harmful effects to the developing fetus or relevant studies have not been performed.
Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand, certain drugs are allowed to be used together. So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug.
It should be used cautiously with following drugs:
Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.
You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:
Insulinoma (tumors of the pancreas gland that make too much insulin)
3 Proper Usage
To use Glucagen properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. It’s better if you or a member of the family knows about the indications and method of glucagon injection.
Glucagen comes with a kit and a vial of powder containing the drug. It also has a syringe filled with fluid to mix the drug. The instructions to mix and inject the drug are inside the package. Read them carefully.
Storage: This medicine should be stored at room temperature within a closed container, away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Do not store expired or outdated medicines or the medicine no longer needed.
4 Precautions to Take
In using Glucagen, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. You should have the understanding of the symptoms of hypoglycemia and what to do if an attack of hypoglycemia occurs.
You should eat or drink something containing sugar. This will usually prevent the symptoms of hypoglycemia from getting worse, and will probably make the use of glucagon unnecessary.
Good sources of sugar include glucose tablets or gel, corn syrup, honey, sugar cubes or table sugar (dissolved in water), fruit juice, or non-diet soft drinks.
If a meal is not scheduled soon (1 hour or less), you should also eat a light snack, such as crackers and cheese or half a sandwich or drink a glass of milk to keep your blood sugar from going down again.
You should not eat hard candy or mints because the sugar will not get into your bloodstream quickly enough. You also should not eat foods high in fat such as chocolate because the fat slows down the sugar entering the blood stream. After 10 to 20 minutes, check your blood sugar again to make sure it is not still too low.
If severe symptoms such as convulsions (seizures) or unconsciousness occur, the patient with diabetes should not be given anything to eat or drink. There is a chance that he or she could choke from not swallowing correctly. Glucagon should be administered and the patient's doctor should be called at once.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Glucagen. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.
This medication is associated with following side effects:
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