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

  • Davide Tinti
  • Ivana RabboneEmail author
Original Article



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.


Hypoglycemia Glucagon Children Continuous glucose monitoring 



We would like to thank all participants and their families for sharing data with the scientific community.


The authors have no support or funding to report.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the any of the authors.

Informed consent

Written informed consents were obtained from all patients for the publication of their reports. This study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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