First Emergency Hypoglycemia Treatment, No Injection Needed

Approved for Patients Ages 4 and Up

The FDA has approved glucagon nasal powder 3 mg (Baqsimi, Eli Lilly and Company), the first glucagon therapy for the emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemia that can be administered without an injection. The agent is approved to treat severe hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes from the age of 4 years.

Until now, anyone suffering from a severe hypoglycemic episode had to be treated with a glucagon injection, which requires being mixed in a several-step process beforehand. The new method of administering glucagon could simplify the process, which can be critical during an episode, especially as the patient may have lost consciousness or may be having a seizure.

Glucagon nasal powder will be available in a single-use dispenser that can be given to someone who is having a severe hypoglycemic episode. The drug increases blood sugar levels in the body by stimulating the liver to release stored glucose into the bloodstream.

Injectable glucagon has been used in the United States for several decades. The approval of glucagon nasal powder was based on data from three studies of people with type-1 diabetes: one involved 70 adults, one involved 83 adults, and the third involved 48 children aged 4 years or older.

Glucagon nasal powder is not recommended for patients with pheochromocytoma or those with insulinoma.

The most common adverse reactions associated with glucagon nasal powder are nausea, vomiting, headache, upper respiratory tract irritation, watery eyes, redness of eyes, and itchiness.

Source: FDA, July 25, 2019