Name: GLUCAGON HCL (GlucagonR)
Classification: exogenous hormone
  • increases blood glucose concentrations by converting hepatic glycogen to glucose
  • produces relaxation of the smooth muscle of the stomach, duodenum, small bowel and colon; used in diagnostic tests requiring a hypotonic state
  • has inotropic and chronotropic effects, possibly by stimulating the release of catecholamines; can be used to counteract the symptoms of beta blocker overdose
  • 1 mg = 1 unit
  • for severe hypoglycemia or termination of insulin shock:  0.5-1 mg IM, SC or IV q 5-25 minutes to a maximum of 3 doses
  • as a diagnostic aid: 1-2 mg IM or 0.25-2 mg IV depending on desired onset of action and desired duration of effect
  • for beta blocker overdose: 
    • bolus dose of 3-10 mg q10min as required
    • infusion at 3-5 mg/hr, titrated to patient response
Administration: IV Infusion:
dilute in dextrose 5% for a final concentration of 0.1mg/ml
  • use provided diluent only if dose <2 mg and for intermitten injection; otherwise use sterile water for injection, then dilute further with D5W if reuired.
Adverse Effects:
  • nausea, vomiting
  • hypokalemia
  • increased HR, BP
  • in patients with pheochromocytoma as may induce sudden release of large amounts of catecholamines from the tumour
  • in patients with insulinoma as may induce tumour to release insulin, precipitating hypoglycemia
Drug Interactions:
  • glucagon + epinephrine = increased and prolonged hyperglycemic effect of glucagon
Monitoring Therapy:
  • serum glucose
  • HR
  • BP
  • serum electrolytes
Adult Critical Care Protocol:
  • May be administed SC, IM, IV direct or by IV infusion by a nurse in Adult Critical Care
  • Continuous infusions must be administered by infusion device with pump library enabled.

Lynne Kelly, Pharmacist, CCTC
Brenda Morgan, Clinical Nurse Specialist, CCTC
Last Update: September 20, 2018