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By Doris Dickson for Body1
Reviewed by Dr. Mike Fuller

Understanding Glucagon

Novo Nordisk manufactures the product Glucagon, brand name GlucaGen. The injected form is used in extreme hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) conditions, specifically when a person is unconscious.

Detailed Description

Glucagon, naturally made, is a hormone produced and secreted by alpha cells (a-cells) of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. It causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose.

How Does Glucagon Work?

Glucagon works to raise blood sugar levels if a person has sufficient stores of glucose in the liver. An average person can store about 10-12 hours worth of glucose in the liver. Therefore, if a person has had repeated recent episodes of low blood sugar, sufficient stores of glucose may not be available and glucose may need to be injected intravenously to rouse the person.

Side Effects

There are side effects to injected Glucagon. They include headache, nausea and vomiting as well as hypotension, hypertension and increased heart rate. Therefore, if the patient is awake and able to safely treat hypoglycemia orally, that is the preferred method.

Glucagon and Glucose

In a type 1 diabetic man, blood glucose concentration begins to rise within 10 minutes of injection with maximum increase shown at approximately 30 minutes. Since stores of glucose have now been depleted, blood sugar should be closely monitored. The patient should eat as soon as possible to maintain blood sugar levels as necessary.

Instructions for Glucagon Use

http://www.rxlist.com/glucagen-drug.htm (we will link to this from the article)

My Sources:


Last updated: 01-Jan-09

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