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Nasal glucagon ‘can aid hypos effectively’

By Editor
22nd January 2016
Hypoglycaemia, Latest news Research

A nasal spray with a powdered form of glucagon can rescue a hypo as quickly as injecting the drug, according to new research.

Glucagon is a hormone which helps the body to increase blood glucose levels, which is why some people with type 1 diabetes often refer to it as the “rescue” drug for severe hypos.

However, the drug currently requires reconstitution before it is injected into the muscle, which can allow room for errors.

The findings in the study published in the Diabetes Care, was based on 75 people with type 1 in  America and showed that the powdered glucagon is just as effective as the injectable form.

As part of the experiment, the volunteers allowed the research team to induce hypoglycaemia,  they were then either given intranasal glucagon or an intramuscular injection of glucagon to return their glucose levels to normal.

‘Highly effective’

The results were equivalent between the two groups. Although the intranasal glucagon took slightly longer on average to act than the injected glucagon, the researchers pointed out that in a real world setting, this lag time would be more than accounted for by the need to reconstitute glucagon ready for injection and then administer it properly.

The research concluded: “Intranasal glucagon was highly effective in treating insulin-induced hypoglycemia in adults with type 1 diabetes. Although the trial was conducted in a controlled setting, the results are applicable to real-world management of severe hypoglycemia, which occurs owing to excessive therapeutic insulin relative to the impaired or absent endogenous glucagon response.”

Rachel Connor, head of research communication at the diabetes charity JDRF, said: “This new form of glucagon has the potential to make it quicker and easy to treat severe hypos, which can only be a good thing. Like the rest of the type 1 community, we await further results with interest.”

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