Stabilized glucagon formulation for bihormonal pump use

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 Nov 1;4(6):1332-7. doi: 10.1177/193229681000400606.


Background: A promising approach to treat diabetes is the development of an automated bihormonal pump administering glucagon and insulin. A physically and chemically stable glucagon formulation does not currently exist. Our goal is to develop a glucagon formulation that is stable as a clear ungelled solution, free of fibrils at a pH of 7 for at least 7 days at 37 °C.

Methods: Experimental glucagon formulations were studied for stability at 25 and 37 °C. Chemical degradation was quantified by reverse phase ultra-performance liquid chromatography. Physical changes were studied using light obscuration and visual observations.

Results: Glucagon content of Biodel glucagon and Lilly glucagon at pH 2 and pH 4, as measured by high-performance liquid chromatography at 25 °C, was 100% at 7 days compared to 87% and <7%, respectively. Light obscuration measurements indicated Lilly glucagon at pH 4 formed an opaque gel, while Biodel glucagon formulation remained a clear solution beyond 50 days at 37 °C. Visual observations confirmed these results.

Conclusions: Biodel glucagon is a stabilized formulation at physiological pH and remains chemically and physically stable beyond 7 days at 37 °C, suggesting its utility for use in a bihormonal pump.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / chemistry
  • Buffers
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Stability
  • Glucagon / administration & dosage*
  • Glucagon / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Insulin Infusion Systems*
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Reducing Agents / chemistry
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Alcohols
  • Buffers
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Reducing Agents
  • Glucagon