Glucagon is a peptide hormone secreted by the pancreas that raises blood glucose levels. Its has the opposite effect of insulin. The pancreas releases glucagon when blood glucose levels fall too low. Glucagon causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream.

Glucagon can be used for treatment of:

  1. Hypoglycemia. Useful for severe hypoglycemia when the victim is unconscious or for other reasons cannot take glucose orally. The dose for an adult is typically 1 milligram, and the glucagon is given by intramuscular, intravenous or subcutaneous injection, and quickly raises blood glucose levels.
  2. Beta-blocker overdose. Glucagon increases cAMP in the myocardium, in effect bypassing the β-adrenergic second messenger system.
  3. Calcium channel blocker overdose.
  4. Impacted food bolus. Glucagon relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and is used in emergencies involving an impacted food bolus in the esophagus.

The onset of action of glucagon is within 5 minutes and the duration of action is 15 minutes. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting.

Glucagon Emergency Kit is an an injectable form of glucagon available for first aid cases.

Glucagon Emergency Kit

 

Dosing

  • For adults and for pediatric patients weighing more than 44 lb (20 kg), give 1 mg (1 unit) by subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous injection.
  • For pediatric patients weighing less than 44 lb (20 kg), give 0.5 mg (0.5 unit) or a dose equivalent to 20 to 30 µg/kg.2-6.

General