This information explains how to give glucagon to treat very low blood sugar in an emergency.
Why do I need an emergency kit?
Very low blood sugar is dangerous and requires immediate treatment. Glucagon will bring up your blood sugar. Everything you need to give a glucagon injection is in the emergency kit. Your friends and family should also practice giving glucagon.
Look at the expiration date when you buy the kit. Write it on your calendar so that you can replace it when it is out of date.Back to top
What is glucagon?
Glucagon is a hormone produced by your pancreas. It raises blood sugar by causing your liver to release stored sugar. Glucagon should only be used in an emergency to bring your blood sugar back to normal quickly.Back to top
How would I or my family or friends know that I need glucagon?
You need glucagon if your blood sugar level is less than 40mg/dl. and you are:
- unable to eat or drink safely becasue you’re confused or disorientated
- having convulsions (seizures)
If possible, someone will need to check your blood glucose level to make sure it is low. You can become unconscious because of high blood sugar. In that case, glucagon will not help. Instead, get medical attention right away.Back to top
What is in the glucagon kit?
The glucagon kit comes with a vial and syringe (Figure 1). The vial has the dry glucagon in it. The syringe comes filled with the diluting solution. The kit can be stored at room temperature. Once you mix the glucagon and solution, you must use it immediately.Back to top
To give a glucagon injection:
- Flip up the cap of the glass vial containing the dry powder. (Figure 2)
- Remove the cap from the syringe.
- Insert the needle into the rubber stopper on the top of the vial.
- Inject all the fluid in the syringe into the glucagon vial. (Figure 3)
- Without removing the needle from the vial, gently shake or roll to mix it. Do this until all the powder is is completely dissolved. (Figure 4)
- The solution should be clear and colorless.
- Draw up the medicine:
- Pull the plunger back to draw the medicine back into the syringe. Be sure to draw all of the medicine in the vial back into the syringe. (Figure 5)
- Use the medicine immediately.
- Inject the glucagon:
- Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab. The injection site can be in the thigh or buttock. (If you do not have an alcohol swab, omit that step.)
- Inject the medicine at 90° angle. (Figure 6)
- After injecting:
- Glucagon can cause vomiting. Turn the patient to the side to prevent choking.
- Call 911.
- Check the patient’s blood sugar. It should rise to at least 70mg/dl. Let the emergency medical personnel know the blood sugar result when they arrive. Once the patient is awake and able to drink, give him or her sips of fruit juice or regular soda. This will help restore the liver glycogen and prevent secondary hypoglycemia.
An unconscious patient will usually wake up within 15 minutes after the injection.Back to top
- Severe adverse reactions are very rare.
- Nausea and vomiting may occur.
Keep this resource to help you remember the steps to give the injection.Back to top