It has been 8 years since then and although I have always had one GlucaGen with me and the other at Mr T’s school, we did not have to use it once. When I look back, there must have been at least a dozen GlucaGen HypoKits that expired on us. Was that the waste of money?
Never! That was the investment in our piece of mind!
GLUCAGEN DOES NOT CONTAIN GLUCOSE, THEREFORE WHEN WE INJECT GLUCAGEN WE ARE NOT DELIVERING GLUCOSE TO THE BLOOD STREAM.
But then what is it?
GlucaGen contains hormone GLUCAGON and has two components (powder in vial and liquid in syringe) that need to be mixed before application. The injection is intended to be administered in the cases of extremely low blood glucose levels, when the affected person with diabetes is completely disoriented and can not take anything orally to treat the hypoglycemia OR when the person is unconscious because of it. The components need to get mixed and injection administered as soon as possible in accordance with the instruction leaflet in the orange box.
Hormone Glucagone, as it enters the body, travels to the liver where it finds stored Glycogen and transforms it into GLUCOSE. Glucose enters the blood – and blood glucose level starts rising. The person who has received GlucaGen should come around within 10-15 minutes from the injection.
Magic wand, I say…but of course it is not the one to be played with.
GlucaGen is a prescription drug and everybody with type one diabetes should have one, somewhere handy, in case of emergency. Every Ambulance carries one, but it is always a question of who is going to get first to the unconscious child: the Ambulance, the parent or a trained teacher? My gut feel is that it would be a teacher so I always show them, at the beginning of new school year how to administer GlucaGen if need be. In addition, I always have one in my purse.
It is very important to mention (some might miss this if they did not read the information sheet carefully) that GlucaGen’s magic powers are LIMITED. Novo Nordisk’s (manufacturer of GlucaGen HypoKit) medicine information sheet states following:
GlucaGen® will not work properly (if liver stores of Glycogen have been depleted by):
• If you have been fasting for a long time
• If you have low levels of adrenaline
• If you have chronic hypoglycemia
• If you have hypoglycaemia caused by drinking too much alcohol
• If you have a tumour that releases glucagon or insulin.
You must be given a high sugar snack like sweets, biscuits or fruit juice after you have responded to treatment (as soon as you are able to take it). This is because GlucaGen® depletes glycogen stores. The high sugar snack will prevent relapse of the hypoglycemia.
- After administering GlucaGen it is normal to see high blood glucose (HIPER). The dosage of GlucaGen varies depending on how many kilograms a child weigh (see the leaflet), however it is not practically possible to administer just the right amount, so as a result more GlucaGen will release more glucose and the result will be higher glucose level in blood.
- The smaller the child is, smaller the liver is, smaller the stores in the liver are, therefore there will be less glucose released into the blood stream and a higher probability of relapsing into hypoglycemia unless the child consumes sugary foods soon after coming around.
- Carbohydrates consumed after the GlucaGen need to be covered by insulin (unless there is already some insulin on board). Without that insulin, additional glucose will not be able to get back into the depleted liver stores where it is needed the most.
- One must dose this insulin very carefully (conservatively) because the whole process of waking the Glycogene stores form the liver may cause the nausea and vomiting – hence we can face the situation where we give insulin for eaten food but the child vomits it.
- If the child cannot eat or drink after the first GlucaGen administration and blood glucose starts declining again – seek immediate medical help – straight to the ER or call the Ambulance. There is no point of repeating administration of GlucaGen when the liver stores have been depleted.
I crack this expired one open and practice using it on an orange. Just in case!