Patients whose diabetes treatment includes insulin will experience hypoglycemic episodes, which occur when most people’s blood sugar level is 70 mg/dL or lower. Each person with diabetes may have different symptoms of hypoglycemia, but common ones include sweating, weakness, trembling, confusion and much more. Without treatment, your blood sugar may continue to decrease, and more severe symptoms are possible such as numbness, seizures or unconsciousness.
There are various options for patients who suffer from hypoglycemia: 4 oz of fruit juice, 3-4 glucose pills, a slice of bread (i.e. 15 grams of carbohydrate). However, when sugar is so low that it would not be safe to swallow, an emergency glucagon treatment is a life-saver. Insulin is a well-known hormone but oftentimes people do not know about its antagonist, glucagon. Opposite of insulin which decreases blood sugar levels, glucagon increases them.
Up until a few years ago, the only emergency glucagon rescue product available was an intricate mix-and-inject kit with a large needle. Fortunately, that complicated device is a thing of the past. After FDA approval of a glucagon auto-injector (Gvoke) and nasal spray (Baqsimi) another glucagon preparation (Zegalogue) is being launched. It can be used for patients with diabetes aged 6 years and above. This new product will be sold as both an auto-injector, similar to an EpiPen, and as a pre-filled syringe.
The steps for using the auto-injector Zegalogue are simple:
- Remove the gray cap from the needle end.
- Push and hold down the pen on the skin for 10 seconds
- Discard the pen
Zegalogue is not only easy to use but very effective in treating hypoglycemia. Three clinical trials in adults and children with insulin-dependent diabetes were conducted and it was found that following the use of Zegalogue in response to severe hypoglycemia, patients showed recovery (an increase in blood glucose levels of at least 20 mg/dL) within 10-15 minutes, the same as with the traditional glucagon emergency kit injections. Whether you are injecting yourself or somebody else, Zegalogue does not require prior injection training. Thanks to advances such as Zegalogue, managing hypoglycemic episodes have become easier than ever.