glucagon

Generic Name: glucagon (GLOO ka gon)Brand names: GlucaGen, Glucagon Emergency Kit for Low Blood Sugar

 

What is glucagon?

Glucagon is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It increases blood sugar levels.

Glucagon is used to treat insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Glucagon may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about glucagon?

Familiarize yourself with the directions included in the glucagon product before you have to use it. This information handout is not intended to replace the specific directions provided with the product. If you did not receive specific directions with your glucagon product talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

Make sure that your relatives and close friends know that if you become unconscious they should seek medical assistance. Glucagon may have been prescribed so that members of your household can give the injection if you become hypoglycemic and are unable to take sugar by mouth. If you are unconscious, glucagon can be given while awaiting medical assistance. Show your family members and others where you keep the kit and how to use it. They need to know how to use it before you need it. They can practice giving a shot by giving you your normal insulin shots. It is important that they practice. A person who has never given a shot probably will not be able to do it in an emergency.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking glucagon?

Familiarize yourself with the directions included in the glucagon product before you have to use it. This information handout is not intended to replace the specific directions provided with the product. If you did not receive specific directions with your glucagon product talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

Make sure that your relatives and close friends know that if you become unconscious they should seek medical assistance. Glucagon may have been prescribed so that members of your household can give the injection if you become hypoglycemic and are unable to take sugar by mouth. If you are unconscious, glucagon can be given while awaiting medical assistance. Show your family members and others where you keep the kit and how to use it. They need to know how to use it before you need it. They can practice giving a shot by giving you your normal insulin shots. It is important that they practice. A person who has never given a shot probably will not be able to do it in an emergency.

Glucagon works to treat hypoglycemia when there is liver glycogen. Glucagon will not work properly if you are fasting, or have low levels of adrenaline, chronic hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia caused by drinking too much alcohol.

Because glucagon depletes glycogen stores, you must be given sugar by mouth as soon as you are able to take it after you have responded to the treatment. This will prevent the occurrence of secondary hypoglycemia.

Talk to your doctor if you have been prescribed glucagon and have a tumor that releases glucagon or insulin.

Early symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) include:

  • sweating

  • drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, lightheadedness-

  • sleep disturbances, anxiety, restlessness-

  • palpitation, tremor, unsteady movement-

  • hunger-

  • slurred speech-

  • depressed mood-

  • tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or tongue-

  • headache-

  • personality changes- or

  • abnormal behavior, irritability or inability to concentrate.

If not treated, a patient may progress to severe hypoglycemia reaction that can include disorientation, seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

If you have any of these early symptoms you may need 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.

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-

  • 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 by mouth.

Glucagon does not cross the human placenta barrier, and may be used in the treatment of severe hypoglycemia during pregnancy. However, always tell your doctor or healthcare provider if you are pregnant before using any medication. Breast-feeding following treatment of severe hypoglycemia with glucagon does not put your baby at risk. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

Glucagon (as a powder) should be stored in the refrigerator. However, do not freeze it in order to prevent damage to the syringe.

The GlucaGen vial should be protected from light. GlucaGen HypoKit can be stored at room temperature for 18 months provided that the expiration date is not exceeded.

Reconstituted glucagon should be used immediately after preparation. Do not store for later use.

How should I use glucagon?

Familiarize yourself with the directions included in the glucagon product before you have to use it. This information handout is not intended to replace the specific directions provided with the product. If you did not receive specific directions with your glucagon product talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

Do not prepare glucagon for injection until you are ready to use it. WARNING: THE PATIENT MAY BE IN A COMA FROM SEVERE HYPERGLYCEMIA (HIGH BLOOD GLUCOSE) RATHER THAN HYPOGLYCEMIA. IN SUCH A CASE, THE PATIENT WILL NOT RESPOND TO GLUCAGON AND REQUIRES IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Read the specific directions that come with your glucagon product. Talk to your doctor or health care provider if you did not receive specific directions on how to use this product.

Act quickly. Prolonged unconsciousness may be harmful. Turn patient on his/her side to prevent them from choking.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Glucagon should only be administered in emergency situations to patients with severe low blood sugar who are unable to take sugar by mouth. A missed dose is unlikely, however, if you have any questions regarding a glucagon dose talk to your healthcare provider.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a glucagon overdose may include nausea and vomiting.

What should I avoid while taking glucagon?

Do not make changes in your normal diet or exercise routines without first talking to your doctor. These changes will affect your blood sugar.

Do not use alcohol without the approval of your doctor. It lowers blood sugar, and you may experience dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Glucagon side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives- difficulty breathing- swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may include nausea and vomiting, or rapid heartbeats.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Glucagon Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypoglycemia:

Less than 20 kg: 0.5 mg (0.5 unit) subcutaneous, IM or IV.20 kg or more: 1 mg (1 unit) subcutaneous, IM or IV.

Usual Adult Dose for Diagnostic:

Diagnostic aid in radiographic examination of stomach, duodenum, and small bowel when diminished intestinal motility would be advantageous:0.25 to 2 mg IV or 1 to 2 mg IM.Diagnostic aid in radiographic examination of colon when diminished intestinal motility would be advantageous:2 mg (2 units) IM approximately 10 minutes prior to the procedure

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypoglycemia:

Neonates:0.02 to 0.2 mg/kg subcutaneous, IM, or IV (maximum dose: 1 mg)- Note: Wide variance in doses exists between manufacturers labeling and published case reports.Neonates: continuous IV infusion: 1 mg infused over 24 hours- doses greater than 0.02 mg/kg/hour did not produce additional benefit.Children:Less than 20 Kg: 0.5 mg (0.5 unit) or a dose equivalent to 20 to 30 mcg/Kg.20 Kg or more : 1 mg (1 unit) subcutaneous, IM, or IV

What other drugs will affect glucagon?

The effect of injected glucagon is not known to be influenced by medicines other than insulin and indomethacin (Indocin).Talk to your doctor if you are taking indomethacin (Indocin) and have been prescribed glucagon.

Glucagon may increase the anticoagulant effect of warfarin.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all drugs that you are taking, including over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, sleep, diet pills, vitamins, minerals, and herbal products Many other drugs may affect your blood sugar levels.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about glucagon written for health professionals that you may read.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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