Another Treatment Option for Severe Hypoglycemia


Glucagon nasal powder (Baqsimi) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). An alternative to injectable glucagon, the nasal powder is sprayed inside the nose and does not require inhalation to work.

The efficacy and safety of nasal powder glucagon was evaluated in two studies of adults with type 2 diabetes; one with 83 participants and the other with 70 participants, according to the FDA. A single dose of nasal glucagon was shown to adequately increase blood sugar levels when compared with a single dose of injectable glucagon. The FDA granted approval for nasal glucagon in 2019.

The most common adverse reactions are similar to those experienced with injectable glucagon and include nausea, vomiting, headache, and upper respiratory tract irritation. Eye-related symptoms, including watering, redness, itchiness, and nasal congestion, were also common and are related to the mode of administration.

Nasal glucagon should be used with caution by people who have been fasting for long periods, have adrenal insufficiency, or have chronic hypoglycemia.

If you use insulin or have previously experienced episodes of severe hypoglycemia, it is important to keep some form of glucagon on hand at all times for administration to you by another person if you are too unresponsive to sit up and drink a sugar-containing liquid. If glucagon is unavailable or its use does not revive the person with diabetes, call an ambulance immediately.