Treatment of severe diabetic hypoglycemia with glucagon: an underutilized therapeutic approach

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2011;4:337-46. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S20633. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Abstract

Tight glycemic control is important in reducing and delaying vascular complications in type 1 and 2 diabetes patients; however, the benefits achieved through strict metabolic control are counterbalanced by an increased risk of hypoglycemia. Glucagon is an effective therapy for treating severe hypoglycemia. Available as an emergency kit, glucagon is an essential tool for rapid response, but remains underappreciated and underused. This article reviews the role of glucagon in treating severe hypoglycemia and discusses the need for better education on glucagon for people with diabetes and their caregivers in order to alleviate fears of hypoglycemia and of administering glucagon in the event of an emergency.

Keywords: glucagon; severe hypoglycemia; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes.