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Diabetic Hypoglycemia - an independent electronic journal dedicated to the advancement of hypoglycemia research and clinical management
Diabetic Hypoglycemia Volume 5, Issue 2, October 2012

Diabetes Treatment Review

Treatment Review – the use of glucagon as a treatment for severe hypoglycemia

Emily Chu and Nicole Meinel of the Diabetic Hypoglycemia Editorial Team

Diabetic Hypoglycemia October 2012, Volume 5, Issue 2: page 20-23



Hypoglycemia is often experienced by people with diabetes following strict glycemic control. It is associated with significant morbidity and reduced quality of life, and severe hypoglycemia (SH) can be fatal. Treatments for SH include intravenously delivered dextrose, and intramuscularly or subcutaneously administrated glucagon. The advantage with glucagon injection is that it can be given by trained non-medical personnel using a glucagon emergency kit, allowing treatment to reverse SH before arrival of emergency medical services. This treatment is underutilized despite its safety and efficacy, which suggests that people with diabetes, their family members, friends and carers are inadequately educated on its use. This review discusses the use of glucagon as a treatment for SH and the need to improve education of patients, their family members, friends and carers in hypoglycemia and the use of glucagon in an emergency situation.


Key words: severe hypoglycemia, glucagon, glucagon emergency kit, education