- Glucose elevating agent (pancreatic hormone)
- Insulin antagonist
- Accelerates the breakdown of glycogen (glycogenolysis) to glucose in the liver.
- Elevates blood glucose levels by increasing the breakdown of glycogen to glucose and inhibiting glycogen synthesis.
- Parenteral administration of glucagon produces relaxation of the smooth muscle of the stomach, duodenum, small bowel and colon.
- Exerts a positive inotropic action on the heart by increasing intracellular cAMP concentration via the secondary messenger system (treatment of beta blocker or Ca++ channel blocker OD).
- Only effective in treating hypoglycaemia if liver glycogen is available.
- Onset - 8 to 10 minutes approx
- Peak - 20 to 30 minutes
- Half-life - 3 to 6 minutes
- Duration - 19 to 32 minutes
- Hypoglycaemia (confirmed or suspected).
- Hypoglycaemia when IV access attempts have been unsuccessful.
- May be beneficial for airway obstruction secondary to foreign body in the esophagus compressing the posterior wall of the trachea – by relaxing the esophagus beta blocker or Ca++ channel blocker OD.
- Allergy or hypersensitivity to glucagon
- Pheochromocytoma (A rare tumor involving the adrenal gland)
- Hepatic or renal insufficiency.
- Insulinoma – may stimulate further release of insulin and precipitate/worsen hypoglycaemia.
- Pregnancy or lactation.
- Nausea or vomiting, hypokalemia, urticaria, respiratory distress, hypotension.
- Possible transient increase in blood pressure and increase in heart rate.
0.5 - 1 mg IM or SC (see medical directives for appropriate dose).
- See BCEHS Pediatric Dosage (BCEHS Peds Dosages) recommendations for age and weight-appropriate dosing information.
- In patients with pheochromocytoma, glucagon may cause the tumor to release catecholamines which may lead to marked hypertension, tachycardia and intra-cerebral haemorrhage.
- Sometimes used IV in high dose as a +ve inotropic agent in the treatment of β (Beta) blocker OD - it increases heart and force of contractility through non-adrenergic pathways.
- Supplied in powder form - requires reconstitution.
- Must not be reconstituted with normal saline, as it will not dissolve - Must be reconstituted with glycerine (provided with glucagon kit, in a single-use syringe.)