When To Use Mini-dose Glucagon For Children With Diabetes

When To Use Mini-dose Glucagon For Children With Diabetes

Mini-dose glucagon can sometimes be useful for your child or teen with diabetes, if they keep having hypoglycaemia and won't drink or eat anything more. It's not a treatment for severe hypoglycaemia when your child or teen needs the full dose of glucagon. 


Key points about mini-dose glucagon

  • this is not a treatment for severe hypoglycaemia when your child or teen needs the full dose of glucagon
  • if you are thinking about using mini-dose glucagon, please contact your diabetes team members to discuss it first

When can mini-dose glucagon be useful for my child with diabetes?

  • when your child or teen's blood glucose level stays low (under 4 mmol/L) and they have had glucose and carbohydrate food already and can't eat any more
  • when your child or teen has diarrhoea and vomiting and has low blood glucose levels, or the blood glucose level is not rising above 4 mmol/L despite treatment
  • when you have given insulin to your toddler and they decide not to eat

How do I prepare mini-dose glucagon for my child?

Prepare the glucagon injection in the usual way - follow the instructions inside the box.

Get rid of the glucagon syringe in the sharps bin and get a 30 unit of 0.3mL insulin syringe.

Draw back the glucagon into the insulin syringe.

The units of glucagon you will need depends on your child or teen's age, for example:

  • if your child is 9 years of age, they need 9 units of the prepared glucagon
  • if your child is under 2 years old, give them 2 units

20 units is the maximum dose.

Give your child or teen the injection under the skin (subcutaneously) as you would a normal insulin injection.

What happens after giving my child mini-dose glucagon?

Test at 20 minutes and then every hour.

  • your child or teen's glucose level should start to rise in the first hour and be more than 5 mmol/L
  • if the glucose level is still under 4 mmol/L at 20 minutes, then inject double the number of units

Keep in contact with your diabetes clinical nurse specialist or the paediatric registrar through the hospital operator.

Keep the glucagon mixture in the fridge for up to 24 hours so you can have repeat doses if your child or teen needs them. 

If your child or teen needs more than 2 doses of mini-dose glucagon, seek urgent medical advice. Your child may need to go to hospital. 

See more KidsHealth content on diabetes

Check out KidsHealth's section on diabetes

Screenshot of KidsHealth website diabetes section


The content on this page has been approved by the Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes, Paediatric Society of New Zealand. 

Images of mini-dose glucagon are screenshots taken from a Starship Hospital video on mini-dose glucagon.

This page last reviewed 11 August 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it