New glucagon spray to treat children’s hypos faster?

Posted on 09 March 2018

A single puff of a new nasal glucagon spray helped all children and teens on a trial to recover from moderate hypos within 30 minutes.

In addition, caregivers found the spray easy to use, with two-thirds able to administer it to the child experiencing a moderate hypo within 30 seconds.

Its effectiveness and ease of use means that the spray shows promise as a user-friendly alternative to the currently available injectable glucagon.

The findings mirror those found in adults, which were presented last year at a conference.

Why did they do this research?

Hypos – short for hypoglycaemia – occur when blood glucose levels drop below the normal range. Symptoms include feeling dizzy, confusion and changes in behaviour, and it can be a frightening experience.

While mild hypos can usually be treated by consuming a sugary drink or snack by the person, severe hypos require someone else’s help.

Severe hypos can be treated outside of a hospital setting by injecting glucagon into the person to raise their blood glucose levels. Many caregivers however are not confident in giving these injections, which can lead to dangerous delays in treating people suffering from severe hypos while the paramedics are called.

This nasal spray was developed by Eli Lilly as an easier way of administering glucagon to someone suffering from a moderate or severe hypo. Eli Lilly are well-known as manufacturers of insulin and other treatments for different types of diabetes.

What did they find?

Children and teens aged 4-17 from the USA took part in the study, in which they and their caregivers were taught how to use the nasal spray in case of a moderate or severe hypo when at home or at school.

Over the course of the study period, 14 participants experienced 33 moderate hypos between them. In all cases, blood glucose levels returned to normal within 30 minutes of using the spray. The participants did not need consume glucose, inject any extra glucagon or call the emergency services.

The participants experienced some side effects including nasal discomfort, headaches and a runny nose, although these were mostly resolved within an hour.

94 per cent of caregivers reported that the spray was easy or very easy to use, and all of the caregivers were able to administer the spray within 2 minutes.

What does this mean for type 1 diabetes?

If approved for clinical use, the spray could become the go-to option for treating moderate and severe hypos outside of a hospital.

This could mean greater peace of mind for people living with type 1 diabetes and their loved ones, as moderate and severe hypos could be treated more quickly and easily.

What’s next?

Eli Lilly are carrying out further trials of the nasal spray in Japan, and plan to submit the spray for approval with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.

Blood glucose levels testing

Want more news like this?

Sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about the latest progress in type 1 diabetes research

Sign up now