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Glucagon (Injection)

Treats severe low blood sugar. Also may be used before X-rays.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Glucagon belongs to the group of medicines called hormones. It is an emergency medicine used to treat severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with diabetes who have passed out or cannot take some form of sugar by mouth. Glucagon is also used during x-ray tests of the stomach and bowels to improve test results by relaxing the muscles of the stomach and bowels. This also makes the testing… Read more
Brand names include
GlucaGen HypoKit, Glucagen, Glucagen Diagnostic Kit, Glucagon, Glucagon Diagnostic Kit, Glucagon Emergency Kit
Drug classes About this
Beta-Adrenergic Blocker Antagonist, Diagnostic Agent, Gastric Function, Gastrointestinal Agent, Glucose Regulation, Antihypoglycemic

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists versus insulin glargine for type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

The review concluded that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, compared to insulin glargine, significantly decreased weight in patients with type 2 diabetes, but increased gastrointestinal adverse events. The influence on mortality or diabetes-associated complications remained unclear. The authors' conclusions reflect the limited short-term evidence, but due to limited data and potential for review bias, they should be interpreted with caution.

Cardiovascular safety and glycemic control of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists for type 2 diabetes mellitus: a pairwise and network meta-analysis

AIMS: Integrating evidence from all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s) to assess the safety of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and efficacy of glycemic control.

Effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists on body weight: a meta-analysis

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), approved as glucose-lowering drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, have also been shown to reduce body weight. An extensive Medline, Cochrane database, and Embase search for "exenatide," "liraglutide," "albiglutide," "semaglutide," and "lixisenatide" was performed, collecting all randomized clinical trials on humans up to December 15, 2011, with a duration of at least 24 weeks, comparing GLP-1 receptor agonists with either placebo or active drugs. Twenty two (7,859 patients) and 7 (2,416 patients) trials with available results on body weight at 6 and 12 months, respectively, were included. When compared with placebo, GLP-1RAs determine a reduction of BMI at 6 months of -1.0 [-1.3; -0.6] kg/m(2). Considering the average BMI at baseline (32.4 kg/m(2)) these data means a weight reduction of about 3% at 6 months. This result could seem modest from a clinical standpoint; however, it could be affected by many factors contributing to an underestimation of the effect of GLP-1RA on body weight, such as non adequate doses, inclusion criteria, efficacy of GLP-1RA on reducing glycosuria, and association to non-pharmacological interventions not specifically aimed to weight reduction.

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Summaries for consumers

Glucagon‐like peptide analogues for type 2 diabetes

Glucagon‐like peptide analogues or agonists are a new kind of drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes that are given by injection under the skin. They regulate glucose levels by stimulating glucose‐dependent insulin secretion and biosynthesis, and by suppressing glucagon secretion, delaying gastric emptying and promoting satiety.  Various glucagon‐like peptide‐1 agonists are in use or in the licensing process, including exenatide, liraglutide, albiglutide, taspoglutide, lixisenatide and LY2189265.

How does the pancreas work?

The pancreas is 12 to 18 centimeters (about 4.7 to 7.1 inches) long and weighs about 70 to 80 grams. This gland is located across the upper abdomen behind the stomach. It plays an important role in digestion and in regulating blood sugar levels. To do this it produces

Medicines for Type 2 Diabetes: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary covers the research on the benefits and possible side effects of medicines to lower or control your blood sugar. It will help you talk with your doctor or other health care professional to decide which medicines are best for you.

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