Font Size

Giving a Glucagon Injection

Turn the head to the side: Step 1

Photo of turning head to the side

Turn the person's head to the side, to prevent choking if he or she vomits.

Choose the injection site: Step 2

Photo of holding arm near the injection site

Choose the site to give the injection.

Pinch the skin: Step 3

Photo of pinching a fold of skin at the injection site

Find a clean area of skin on the upper arm or thigh. Slightly pinch a fold of skin between your fingers of one hand. Hold the syringe like a pencil close to the site, keeping your fingers off the plunger.

Insert the needle: Step 4

Photo of inserting needle into arm

Try to keep the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the injection site. Quickly push the needle all the way into the pinched-up area.

Give the injection: Step 5

Photo of giving the injection

Push the plunger to give the medicine. Give the amount of glucagon that the person's doctor has recommended. After you give the glucagon shot, immediately call for emergency care. If emergency help has not arrived within 5 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another glucagon shot.

Check the blood sugar level: Step 6

Photo of pricking finger to test blood sugar level

Wait 5 to 10 minutes after giving the injection before checking the blood sugar. Remember, it can take 15 minutes or longer for the blood sugar to increase after the injection. Use the lancet device to prick the side of the finger. Test a small sample of blood to check the blood sugar level. Repeat this step after 30 minutes to make sure the blood sugar stays in your target blood sugar range.

Give quick-sugar food: Step 7

Photo of person getting quick sugar from a lollipop

If the person becomes more alert, carefully give some quick-sugar food or liquid. Stay with the person until emergency help arrives.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Last RevisedJune 29, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary