Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose)
What Is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. Your numbers might be different, so check with your healthcare provider to find out what level is too low for you.
What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
Symptoms of hypoglycemia tend to come on quickly and can vary from person to person. You may have one or more mild-to-moderate symptoms listed in the table below. Sometimes people don’t feel any symptoms.
Severe hypoglycemia is when your blood glucose level becomes so low that you’re unable to treat yourself and need help from another person. Severe hypoglycemia is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. This condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes.
Mild-to-Moderate Symptoms Include:
- Shaky or Jittery
- Blurred Vision
- Sleepy or Tired
- Dizzy or Lightheaded
- Confused or Disoriented
- Irritable or Nervous
- Argumentative or Combative
- Changed Behavior or Personality
- Trouble Concentrating
- Fast or Irregular Heart Beat
Severe Symptoms Include:
- Unable to Eat or Drink
- Seizures or Convulsions (Jerky Movements)
What causes hypoglycemia in diabetes?
Hypoglycemia can be a side effect of insulin or other types of diabetes medicines that help your body make more insulin. Other diabetes medicines may not cause hypoglycemia by themselves but can increase the chances of hypoglycemia if taken with medicines that help the body make more insulin. Ask your healthcare team if your diabetes medicine can cause hypoglycemia.
What other factors contribute to hypoglycemia in diabetes?
If you take insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes—but don’t match your medications with your food or physical activity—you could develop hypoglycemia.
The following factors can make hypoglycemia more likely:
- Not eating enough carbohydrates (carbs)
When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the sugars and starches into glucose. Glucose then enters your bloodstream and raises your blood glucose level. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates to match your medication, your blood glucose could drop too low.
- Skipping or delaying a meal
If you skip or delay a meal, your blood glucose could drop too low. Hypoglycemia also can occur when you are asleep and haven’t eaten for several hours.
- Increasing physical activity
Increasing your physical activity level beyond your normal routine can lower your blood glucose level for up to 24 hours after the activity.
- Drinking too much alcohol without enough food
Alcohol makes it harder for your body to keep your blood glucose level steady, especially if you haven’t eaten in a while. The effects of alcohol can also keep you from feeling the symptoms of hypoglycemia, which may lead to severe hypoglycemia.
- Being sick
When you’re sick, you may not be able to eat as much or keep food down, which can cause low blood glucose. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking care of your diabetes when you’re sick.
Work with your healthcare team
Tell your healthcare team if you have had hypoglycemia. Your healthcare team may adjust your diabetes medicines or other aspects of your management plan. Learn about balancing your medicines, eating plan, and physical activity to prevent hypoglycemia.
Learn more about the program support for Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose) offered through KabiCare by selecting the support title.
Based upon the amount of a patient’s out-of-pocket expense, KabiCare will provide additional savings towards the cost of the co-pay, depending on eligibility requirements and program rules. Eligibility criteria apply. Patients are not eligible for commercial co-pay assistance support if the prescription is eligible to reimbursed, in whole or in party, by any federal or state health care program.
Emergency Training Kit
Glucagon Emergency Kit for injection
The Glucagon Emergency Kit is ready when you need it.
At home, school or work, the Glucagon Emergency Kit is convenient and simple to use, to quickly treat patients with diabetes who experience unexpected episodes of severe hypoglycemia.
Fresenius Kabi’s Glucagon Emergency Kit is a cost-effective alternative that meets the same quality standards as other products on the market.
*Subject to eligibility requirements. Available for both commercially insured and patients with no insurance coverage.
Self-Injection Training Kit
For U.S. Healthcare Professionals Only
Fresenius Kabi provides complimentary injection kits to licensed healthcare practitioners, which does not include the active ingredient. To receive a complimentary injection training kit to help educate your patients, please visit the Glucagon site.
Important Safety Information
Indication and Usage
Glucagon is a prescription medicine used to treat very low blood sugar (severe hypoglycemia) in people with diabetes.
Do not use Glucagon if:
- you have a tumor in the gland on top of your kidneys (adrenal gland) called a pheochromocytoma.
- you have a tumor in your pancreas called an insulinoma.
- you are allergic to glucagon or lactose or any of the ingredients in Glucagon.
Before using Glucagon, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- have kidney problems
- have pancreas problems.
- have not had food or water for a long time (prolonged fasting or starvation).
- have low blood sugar that does not go away (chronic hypoglycemia).
- have heart problems.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Glucagon will harm your unborn baby.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Glucagon passes into your breast milk.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Glucagon may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how Glucagon works. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
When using Glucagon, you should:
- Read the detailed Instructions for Use that come with Glucagon.
- Use Glucagon exactly as your doctor tells you to.
- Make sure that you and your family know how to use Glucagon the right way before you need it.
- Act quickly. Having very low blood sugar for a period of time may be harmful.
- Call for emergency medical help right after you use Glucagon.
- If the person does not respond after 15 minutes, another dose may be given, if available.
- Eat sugar or a sugar sweetened product such as a regular soft drink or fruit juice as soon as you are able to swallow.
- Tell your doctor each time you use Glucagon. Your doctor may need to change the dose of your diabetes medicines.
Glucagon may cause serious side effects, including:
- High blood pressure. Glucagon can cause high blood pressure in certain people with tumors in their adrenal glands.
- Low blood sugar. Glucagon can cause low blood sugar in patients with tumors in their pancreas called insulinomas and Glucagonomas by making too much insulin in their bodies.
- Serious allergic reactions. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have a serious allergic reaction including: rash, difficulty breathing, or low blood pressure.
The most common side effects of Glucagon include:
- swelling at the injection site
- redness at the injection site
- decreased blood pressure
- pale skin
- sleepiness or drowsiness
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of Glucagon. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
This Important Safety Information does not include all the information needed to use Glucagon for Injection safely and effectively. To learn more about Glucagon for Injection, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Please see the full prescribing information for Glucagon for Injection and Patient Information. The full prescribing information is also available at www.fresenius-kabi.com/us.