Objectives: To evaluate the use of small doses of glucagon using an insulin syringe in mild or impending hypoglycaemia in children with type 1 diabetes.
Methods: Data were collected from patients attending the Paediatric Diabetes Clinic at the Queensland Diabetes Centre at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane in 2002-2004 following the institution of a new protocol for home management of mild or impending hypoglycaemia associated with inability or refusal to take oral carbohydrate. The protocol recommended the use of subcutaneous injections of glucagon using insulin syringes at a dose of two 'units' (20 microg) in children 2 years of age or younger, and for older children one unit per year of age up to a maximum of 15 units (150 microg), with an additional doubled dose given if the blood glucose had not increased in 20 min.
Results: Over a 2-year period, 25 children were treated with mini-dose glucagon on a total of 38 occasions. Additional doses were required for recurring hypoglycaemia on 20 (53%) occasions. The child could be managed at home on 32 (84%) of these 38 occasions, with only 6 (16%) children needing hospital treatment.
Conclusions: Our study confirmed that small doses of glucagon given subcutaneously with an insulin syringe is a simple, practical and effective home treatment of mild or impending hypoglycaemia due to gastroenteritis or food refusal in children with type 1 diabetes.