Why Patients Need Ready-to-Use Glucagon in Their Diabetes Toolkits

Provide patients with a safety net to treat severe hypoglycemia quickly and safely1*
Woman in field of flowers

Hypoglycemia: Common, Costly and Life-Threatening


Most patients with T1D and ~50% of patients with T2D experience hypoglycemia.2,3


In 2011, the estimated annual cost for hypoglycemia-related hospitalizations was $1.6 billion.4


Risk of death is 3x higher in patients with diabetes who experienced hypoglycemia compared to those who experienced either no or mild hypoglycemia.5,6

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Ensure patients have a treatment plan that includes ready-to-use glucagon

Glucagon can be lifesaving for people with diabetes

Because severe hypoglycemia is unpredictable and demands quick action, it’s important to help patients create a treatment plan that includes ready-to-use glucagon. Endocrine Society Guidelines recommend ready-to-use glucagon over glucagon preparations that have to be reconstituted.7

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Who’s at Risk

Both type 1 and type 2 patients with diabetes may be at increased risk of hypoglycemia


Diabetes guidelines recommend all patients at increased risk of hypoglycemia to have a glucagon prescription.7,8 The American Diabetes Association (ADA) identified the following factors that increase a patient’s risk of hypoglycemia9:

  • Use of medications known to cause hypoglycemia (e.g., insulin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides)
  • Impaired kidney or hepatic function 
  • Longer duration of diabetes 
  • Frailty and older age 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Alcohol use 
  • Impaired counterregulatory response, hypoglycemia unawareness 
  • Physical or intellectual disability that may impair behavioral response to hypoglycemia 
  • Use of many different types of medications
  • History of severe hypoglycemic event 

Glucagon is Underutilized and Under-Prescribed — But That Needs To Change

Hypoglycemia is unpredictable and can quickly develop into severe hypoglycemia. But out of the approximately 8.3 million insulin-treated patients with diabetes in the U.S.,10,11 only 690,000 had prescriptions for glucagon filled12 — leaving millions without a safety net to treat low blood sugar emergencies.
Dr and patient looking at chart

3 Reasons Patients Need Ready-To-Use Glucagon

Managing blood glucose levels is challenging. Even when diabetes is well-controlled and regardless of patients’ efforts, things don’t always go according to plan.

Fast-acting carbs aren't always enough.13

38% (16/48) of episodes of hypoglycemia resolved 15 minutes post-treatment with 16 grams of carbohydrates.

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Technology does not eliminate risk of hypoglycemia.14

CGM and insulin pumps can help — but don’t eliminate — risk of severe hypoglycemia.

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It’s simple to administer compared to traditional glucagon kits.7

Severe hypoglycemia is unpredictable and demands quick action. That’s why ease of glucagon administration matters.

Severe lows can happen to all of us

Kenny’s Gvoke HypoPen story

Fear of severe hypoglycemia shouldn’t derail a patient’s diabetes treatment plan. Learn why Kenny’s action plan includes Gvoke HypoPen.

Hear From Your Peers

doctor smiling
Glucagon makes me feel confident that I have something to offer [patients] in the midst of an emergency that’s simple to use.

*In a pooled analysis of 2 clinical studies in adults, mean time to treatment success was 13.8 minutes with treatment success defined as plasma glucose increase from mean value (< 50 mg/dL) at time of glucagon administration to absolute value greater than 70 mg/dL or relative increase of 20 mg/dL or greater.


  1. Gvoke [prescribing information]. Chicago, IL: Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc; 2023.
  2. Davis HA, Spanakis EK, Cryer PE, Davis SN. Hypoglycemia During Therapy of Diabetes. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Endotext. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; June 29, 2021.
  3. Gehlaut RR, Dogbey GY, Schwartz FL, Marling CR, Shubrook JH. Hypoglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes–More Common Than You Think: A Continuous Glucose Monitoring Study. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2015;9(5):999-1005. Published 2015 Apr 27. doi:10.1177/1932296815581052
  4. Goyal RK, Sura SD, Mehta HB. Direct medical costs of hypoglycemia hospitalizations in the United States. Value Health. 2017;20(9):PA498. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2017.08.562
  5. Zoungas S, Patel A, Chalmers J, et al. Severe hypoglycemia and risks of vascular events and death. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(15):1410-1418. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1003795
  6. McCoy RG, Van Houten HK, Ziegenfuss JY, Shah ND, Wermers RA, Smith SA. Increased mortality of patients with diabetes reporting severe hypoglycemia. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(9):1897-1901. doi:10.2337/dc11-2054
  7. McCall AL, Lieb DC, Gianchandani R, et al. Management of individuals with diabetes at high risk for hypoglycemia: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2023;108(3):529-562.doi:10.1210/clinem/dgac596
  8. ElSayed NA, Aleppo G, Aroda VR, et al. 6. Glycemic Targets: Standards of Care in Diabetes-2023. Diabetes Care. 2023;46(Suppl 1):S97-S110. doi:10.2337/dc23-S006
  9. ElSayed NA, Aleppo G, Aroda VR, et al. 4. Comprehensive Medical Evaluation and Assessment of Comorbidities: Standards of Care in Diabetes-2023 [published correction appears in Diabetes Care. 2023 Jun 25;:]. Diabetes Care. 2023;46(Suppl 1):S49-S67. doi:10.2337/dc23-S004
  10. American Diabetes Association. Fast Facts 2022. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://professional.diabetes.org/content/fast-facts-data-and-statistics-about-diabetes
  11. American Diabetes Association. Fast Facts 2020. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://professional.diabetes.org/sites/professional.diabetes.org/files/media/sci_2020_diabetes_fast_facts_sheet_final.pdf
  12. Data on file. Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  13. Gingras V, Desjardins K, Smaoui MR, et al. Treatment of mild-to-moderate hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes treated with insulin pump therapy: are current recommendations effective?. Acta Diabetol. 2018;55(3):227-231. doi:10.1007/s00592-017-1085-8
  14. Lin YK, Richardson CR, Dobrin I, et al. Beliefs Around Hypoglycemia and Their Impacts on Hypoglycemia Outcomes in Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes and High Risks for Hypoglycemia Despite Using Advanced Diabetes Technologies. Diabetes Care. 2022;45(3):520-528. doi:10.2337/dc21-1285
  15. Valentine V, Newswanger B, Prestrelski S, Andre AD, Garibaldi M. Human Factors Usability and Validation Studies of a Glucagon Autoinjector in a Simulated Severe Hypoglycemia Rescue Situation. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2019;21(9):522-530. doi:10.1089/dia.2019.0148
Indication and Important Safety Information⁠—⁠Read More


GVOKE is indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia in adult and pediatric patients with diabetes ages 2 years and above.



GVOKE is contraindicated in patients with pheochromocytoma because of the risk of substantial increase in blood pressure, insulinoma because of the risk of hypoglycemia, and known hypersensitivity to glucagon or to any of the excipients in GVOKE. Allergic reactions have been reported with glucagon and include anaphylactic shock with breathing difficulties and hypotension.

Warnings and Precautions

GVOKE is contraindicated in patients with pheochromocytoma because glucagon may stimulate the release of catecholamines from the tumor. If the patient develops a dramatic increase in blood pressure and a previously undiagnosed pheochromocytoma is suspected, 5 to 10 mg of phentolamine mesylate, administered intravenously, has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure.

In patients with insulinoma, administration of glucagon may produce an initial increase in blood glucose; however, GVOKE administration may directly or indirectly (through an initial rise in blood glucose) stimulate exaggerated insulin release from an insulinoma and cause hypoglycemia. GVOKE is contraindicated in patients with insulinoma. If a patient develops symptoms of hypoglycemia after a dose of GVOKE, give glucose orally or intravenously.

Allergic reactions have been reported with glucagon. These include generalized rash, and in some cases, anaphylactic shock with breathing difficulties and hypotension. GVOKE is contraindicated in patients with a prior hypersensitivity reaction.
GVOKE is effective in treating hypoglycemia only if sufficient hepatic glycogen is present. Patients in states of starvation, with adrenal insufficiency or chronic hypoglycemia, may not have adequate levels of hepatic glycogen for GVOKE administration to be effective. Patients with these conditions should be treated with glucose.

Necrolytic migratory erythema (NME), a skin rash commonly associated with glucagonomas (glucagon-producing tumors) and characterized by scaly, pruritic erythematous plaques, bullae, and erosions, has been reported postmarketing following continuous glucagon infusion. NME lesions may affect the face, groin, perineum and legs or be more widespread. In the reported cases NME resolved with discontinuation of the glucagon, and treatment with corticosteroids was not effective. Should NME occur, consider whether the benefits of continuous glucagon infusion outweigh the risks.

Adverse Reactions

Most common (≥5%) adverse reactions associated with GVOKE are nausea, vomiting, injection site edema (raised 1 mm or greater), and hypoglycemia.

Drug Interactions

Patients taking beta-blockers may have a transient increase in pulse and blood pressure when given GVOKE. In patients taking indomethacin, GVOKE may lose its ability to raise blood glucose or may even produce hypoglycemia. GVOKE may increase the anticoagulant effect of warfarin.

Please see the Full Prescribing Information for Gvoke.