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Acta Diabetol. 2019 Oct 31. doi: 10.1007/s00592-019-01443-1. [Epub ahead of print]

Mini-doses of glucagon to prevent hypoglycemia in children with type 1 diabetes refusing food: a case series.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Turin, Piazza Polonia, 94, 10126, Turin, Italy.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Turin, Piazza Polonia, 94, 10126, Turin, Italy.



Hypoglycemia in small children with type 1 diabetes is difficult to manage if nausea, vomit or food refusal occurs. If oral carbohydrate cannot be used, there is a hypothetical risk of severe hypoglycemia. The present article describes the effect on glucose of small doses of subcutaneous glucagon to revert hypoglycemia and prevent severe events in small children with type 1 diabetes using a continuous glucose monitoring.


We analyzed 4 episodes of impending or mild hypoglycemia in 3 children with type 1 diabetes who refused to eat carbohydrates. Using a standard U-100 insulin syringe, children received one "unit" (10 μg) of glucagon subcutaneously for every year of age up to 15 units (150 μg). If the blood glucose did not increase within 30 min, the initial dosage was repeated at that time. Instructions were given by phone from the physician. At the following visit data from continuous glucose monitoring devices, insulin pump and glucometer were downloaded and reviewed retrospectively from the physician.


Blood glucose from continuous glucose monitoring after one and 2 h was 127 ± 80 mg/dl and 165 ± 78 mg/dl, respectively. After a glucagon injection, there was a single recurrence of hypoglycemia, requiring another shot. The glucagon was well tolerated, except for nausea, present before the injection. None of the children were taken to our hospital because of concerns for hypoglycemia.


Mini-doses of glucagon given subcutaneously were effective and safe in preventing frank or impending hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes children refusing food.


Children; Continuous glucose monitoring; Glucagon; Hypoglycemia


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