glucagon (recombinant - GlucaGen, Glucagon Emergency Kit)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is glucagon?

Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that, along with insulin, controls the level of glucose in the blood. Glucagon has the opposite effect of insulin. It increases the glucose levels in blood. Glucagon, the drug, is a synthetic (man-made) version of human glucagon and is manufactured by genetic engineering using the bacteria Escherichia coli.

Is glucagon available as a generic drug?

yes

Do I need a prescription for glucagon?

yes

Why is glucagon prescribed to patients?

Glucagon is used to treat severe hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. It is also used for radiologic examination of the stomach, duodenum, small bowel, and colon.

What are the side effects of glucagon?

Nausea and vomiting may occur occasionally after injection of glucagon, but this may be a symptom of the hypoglycemia for which glucagon is being given. Rare allergic-type reactions may occur with glucagon including itching, respiratory distress, or low blood pressure.

Glucagon should not be administered to hypoglycemic patients who are also experiencing starvation, adrenal insufficiency or are suffering from chronic hypoglycemia. These medical conditions may be associated with an inability of the liver to produce glucose sufficiently in response to glucagon. For these patients, oral glucose is more effective if the patient is conscious. If the patient is not conscious, intravenous glucose should be given.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/31/2016

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