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Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. It is made by the pancreas. It can also be given as a shot or as a powder that's sprayed into the nose.
People with diabetes sometimes get very low blood sugar. If they are unconscious, they need sugar right away. Glucagon raises the blood sugar quickly. A person also needs glucagon if they can't (or won't) safely drink or eat something that contains sugar.
If someone close to you has diabetes, you may need to give them the shot or spray during a low blood sugar emergency.
Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, a headache, and a runny nose.
Replace glucagon shots and nasal spray before they expire. And follow the directions for storage.
A glucagon emergency kit has a syringe that contains liquid (a diluent). The kit also has a bottle that contains the medicine.
Anytime a person who has diabetes gets glucagon, they should talk to a doctor to try to find out what caused the low blood sugar. Some causes include too much insulin, a missed meal, and insulin injected into a blood vessel. Other causes include an illness other than diabetes, liver damage, and kidney damage. Low blood sugar can also be caused by exercise or a new medicine.
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Current as of: July 28, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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