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Glucagon is used to treat insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include disorientation, unconsciousness, and seizures or convulsions. Give glucagon if:
- The patient is unconscious
- The patient is unable to eat sugar or a sugar-sweetened product
- The patient is having a seizure, or
- Repeated administration of sugar or a sugar-sweetened product such as a regular soft drink or fruit juice does not improve the patient's condition
Milder cases of hypoglycemia should be treated promptly by eating sugar or a sugar-sweetened product. Glucagon is not active when taken orally.
Severe side effects are very rare, although nausea and vomiting may occur occasionally. A few people may be allergic to glucagon or to one of the inactive ingredients in glucagon, or may experience rapid heart beat for a short while.
Information on Hypoglycemia:
Early symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) include:
- sleep disturbances
- blurred vision
- slurred speech
- depressed mood
- tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or tongue
- abnormal behavior
- unsteady movement
- inability to concentrate
- personality changes
If not treated, the patient may progress to severe hypoglycemia that can include:
The occurrence of early symptoms calls for prompt and, if necessary, repeated administration of some form of carbohydrate. Patients should always carry a quick source of sugar, such as candy mints or glucose tablets. The prompt treatment of mild hypoglycemic symptoms can prevent severe hypoglycemic reactions. If the patient does not improve or if administration of carbohydrate is impossible, glucagon should be given or the patient should be treated with intravenous glucose at a medical facility. Glucagon, a naturally occurring substance produced by the pancreas, is helpful because it enables the patient to produce his/her own blood glucose to correct the hypoglycemia.