Type 1 diabetes - day-to-day management

What is Glucagon?

Emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemia

GLUCAGON is a medication used for emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemia (loss of consciousness due to low blood sugar) in diabetic patients treated with insulin. If symptoms of severe hypoglycemia occur, a source of quick sugar in some form (candy, orange juice, corn syrup, honey or sugar cubes) should be given immediately, more than once if necessary. If the patient’s condition deteriorates and they lose consciousness, or if they cannot be given an oral source of quick sugar, GLUCAGON should be given as an urgent measure.

The administration of GLUCAGON allows the body to release the blood glucose needed to correct hypoglycemia. GLUCAGON is a natural substance produced by the pancreas. Fast sugar can later be given orally. Consequences related to severe hypoglycemia are then avoided.

There are two types of GLUCAGON:

Nasal GLUCAGON

The nasal GLUCAGON is called BAQSIMI. A GLUCAGON powder is contained in a plastic device. It is a nasal sprayer. This device is ready to use (no preparation is required) and is simple to use. It is administered through the nose. Just follow the instructions. Place the device in the nose and press where indicated to allow the product to be released into the nasal cavity.

In Quebec, Glucagon is reimbursed by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)

People who are using diabetes treatment with insulin, and who are four years old and older can use BAQSIMI. It can be used in a person who has lost consciousness, or a person who is unable to ingest sugar on their own. Even if the person has mucus in their nose, for example due to a cold, BAQSIMI still works. The powder does not have to be inhaled into the lungs to be functional. BAQSIMI can be administered by a person witnessing severe hypoglycemia, or by the diabetic person himself, if they are still conscious. Its use is quick and easy.

GLUCAGON injection

GLUCAGON Injection is presented as a powder with a solvent in a syringe. You only need to follow the instructions to understand how it works. It is important to follow the instructions carefully because it is necessary to dissolve the GLUCAGON powder in the solvent, and then to take back the liquid mixed with the powder in the seringe ton inject it. It is therefore necessary to take the time needed to administer it properly in case of emergency, in order to ensure its effectiveness. GLUCAGON is injected into a muscle, either intravenously or subcutaneously. GLUCAGON Injection can be given to a person who has lost consciousness, or a person who is not able to ingest glucose on his own.

Surroundings

It is important to inform the family and friends of a child with diabetes about the symptoms of diabetes and hypoglycemia, but also about how the different types of GLUCAGON work, to avoid severe hypoglycemia.

Patients who are unable to take sugar orally or who are unconscious should be given a GLUCAGON injection or an intravenous glucose injection at a medical facility. The physician should be notified immediately of any severe hypoglycemia.

GLUCAGON is an emergency drug and should be used in an emergency. Individuals who have regular contact with a diabetic patient should become familiar with the proper use of this medication before an emergency occurs.

Contraindications

Certain conditions may contraindicate the use of BAQSIMI and GLUCAGON:

  • Individuals with a known hypersensitivity to GLUCAGON, or to any ingredient in the formulation or container;
  • People who have a pheochromocytoma;
  • People with insulinoma.

Use of GLUCAGON with alcohol*

When we consume alcohol, our liver works hard to eliminate it. Excessive alcohol consumption at a party or chronic alcoholism can have an impact on the effectiveness of GLUCAGON, regardless of its form. Alcohol will prevent, in part or totally, the hepatic gluconeogenesis from acting. The latter is found in our liver. Hepatic gluconeogenesis is essential to raise the blood sugar level. It is GLUCAGON that will release it. Therefore, BAQSIMI and Glucagon may be less, or not effective in case of excessive or chronic alcohol ingestion. GLUCAGON should still be administered in cases of severe hypoglycemia if a person has consumed alcohol, even if its effectiveness is compromised.
*It is important to discuss the effects of alcohol with a young person with diabetes.

Insurance coverage

In Quebec, BAQSIMI nasal GLUCAGON, as well as the injectable GLUCAGONs GlucaGen, GlucaGen hypokit, and Glucagon, are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). To obtain one or more GLUCAGON devices, simply ask your endocrinologist for a prescription. The different GLUCAGON devices are available in pharmacies.