Have you had to use glucagon for a severe low?

I’m looking for caregivers of T1Ds who have had to administer glucagon, as well as T1Ds who have had glucagon administered to them for a severe low.

This is for a JDRF blog on the importance of T1Ds having a form of glucagon readily available. If you’d like to share your story, please email me at ksweet@jdrf.org. Thank you!

@kasweet Welcome Kara to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum!

It is a pleasure to welcome you, as a first -time poster, to the TypeOneNation Forum. Unfortunately, or maybe quite fortunate, although I’m well into my seventh decade of injecting / infusing insulin to stay alive I’ve never needed to use any of the many glucogon kits I’ve purchased. My practice has been to focus on how my body feels, now aided by wonderful devices such as BG Meters and imbedded glucose sensors, to avoid the need for glucagon.

I’m looking forward to reading your blog and learning.


Hi Kara, I didn’t email because I don’t have personal info re glucagon to share, however there’s a new form of inhalable glucagon now available at pharmacies called Baqsimi. I haven’t needed it yet, but this info should help the community.

I got the new Gvoke auto-injector for glucagon when my old kit expired. I wanted to see how it worked, so when I had a very low blood sugar one day, I tried it on myself. I went from about 40 to over 300 mg/dl in an hour. I will not use glucagon ever again - it raises the blood sugar too high.

300 is high, to be sure but I would prefer that to a falling sugar from 40. Just for reference I had a bowl of cereal the other day after having properly dosed for it and went to 400+ within 30 minutes. I’m not sure which is more effective!


I respond slowly to both insulin and to glucose tablets. When I take a glucose tablet, it takes over 30 minutes for my blood sugar to start to rise. And when I take insulin, it takes a good 45+ minutes before my blood sugar starts to fall. I thought the Gvoke might act faster, but I normally keep my sugars between 72 and 160, so 300+ is not OK. I only see 300+ if I am ill.

A long time ago I was told liquids work faster than solid foods, so you might see if juice or milk works faster than glucagon.

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I try to dissolve the glucose by having water with the tablets. But carrying around juice is out of the question. I travel a lot. And the glucose tablets are actually more glucose than I normally need. So I use quick-dissolving small candies instead, along with water. A small container of these packed in my luggage can last a few weeks. Also, if I were to use juice, I would need about a tablespoon, and when I am half awake, measuring something like that is likely to wake me fully for the rest of the night. And during the day, I do not want juice around my computer or book. I used to use milk 30 years ago, but it was really slow as well.

The important thing is to know what works for you. I don’t like the consistency of glucose tabs so in my purse I carry Mentos, Lifesavers or something like that. My favorite is Clif Bloks - they’re an energy gel I discovered at a sporting goods store. Just mentioning it if you’re every looking for something new to try.

I used to carry life savers. I still do, but rarely use them. They are so slow to dissolve that they stay stuck in my teeth. And I had never heard of Clif Bloks. They have 8 g of carbs per packet, so that would be way too much for me. I normally need 1-4 grams. They do sound good, though.

If I were trying to illustrate the importance of having Glucagon on hand in case of emergency I wouldn’t rely too much on hypoglycemic horror stories. Carrying a Glucagon kit is like having a fire extinguisher available if you’re faced with a fire. It’s unlikely that you’ll be in that situation but it’s there in case you are. It’s insurance and that’s its value.

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T1 for 48 years, and in that time I’ve needed glucagon on a number of occasions.

In my opinion, glucagon is one of those things where if you are able to self administer, then you don’t need it. On the occasions I was given glucagon, I was unconscious, and the choices were binary. Glucagon and survive. No glucagon and quite likely not.

Some years ago I did a 7 day solo hike in the wilderness and before I left, my manager at work, who came from the military, asked me if I was taking an emergency beacon with me. When I said no, he gave me one of his. I said thank-you. After getting into real trouble on the second last night of the hike, I was able to finally get back to civilisation. He asked me a very interesting question after I told him what had happened. He asked me if I could have used the emergency beacon. I smiled and told him that he knew more about the subject than he was letting on and that no, if I truly needed to use the beacon, I would not have been able to.

I see glucagon in the same way, which is why in my opinion, glucagon isn’t designed to be self administered.

Alex (of OZ)

Hi again. There is now an inhaled form of Glucagon called Baqsimi: no needles and no mixing involved so it may be less intimidating. There are some comments on the forum from people who have used it.

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I agree with you 100%