Expired glucagon

I have a “Lilly 1mg Glucagon Emergency kit” that expired April 2017. Visually it appears OK, the powder in the bottle is still dry, the fluid in the plunger is still clear. Is this kit 100% useless or, in a pinch, would it be “better than nothing” for emergency hypo treatment?

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I’ve used them well after expiration. But I gotta ask my wife how long past the date. Most of the time I was out when it was given to me. :wink:

But really, being so close to expiration it’s fine. Once the powder gets mixed, that’s when it goes bad quickly.

I can do a test for you sometime. I have some old ones. But I’ll tell you, testing glucagon sucks. You can’t screw up for the next 24 hours while you get replenished.


Thanks for the offer to test, but not needed on my account! I keep one in my hockey bag but believe there is usually a bottomless supply of fast sugar nearby when I’m at a rink. Now I’m packing for a road trip and want to have it on hand just in case.

I used one old one today (2.5 yrs expired) for my wife to practice mixing etc.

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Unless I misunderstand, would not the Glucagon typically be used when somebody is unable to eat or drink?

Yes, that is why I carry the Glucagon. My comment meant if I am heading low based on the CGM there is no shortage of quick sugar I can borrow/grab (if I run out of my own stash at the bench) to avoid the emergency hypo. At least that is the plan, time will tell.

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My fist and only glucagon kit expired in 2013, but it’s been in the fridge the entire time though, I hope to never need it but I guess I’m banking on it being fine if I ever do… I don’t ever take it anywhere with me

You probably could use it, but I might feel more comfortable useing it instead for non-emergency situations – as mini-glucagon to bump up your BG when it’s a low but you’re not unconscious. That way if it doesn’t work you can always eat carbs instead.

Odds are it would be fine but I would be particularly unwilling to risk the odds it’s NOT fine in an emergency situation, rather than a more routine one.

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In our practice the CDE’s want the expired glucagon, they use it to train new patients (like us a short while ago) allowing each family member to mix the glucagon and practice drawing it up and injecting it. Also, might want to check if there is a school near you, the district nurse might want it for the same reason. Can’t have enough people knowing how to use the stuff in the community. Our teachers and office staff get trained every year.

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I had an old one that I needed to replace, so rather than just toss it, I decided to test it out.

It expired September 2014!!

It worked fine. Brought me right up. I just did a mini-dose, about 25 units.

I had not eaten yet, so this was only glucagon doing it:

51 @ 12:49 pm
73 @ 1:04 pm
97 @ 1:10 pm
101 @ 1:16 pm
109 @ 1:21 pm

I am still rising, so I am glad I just did a mini-dose.

Anyway, new and UNexpired glucagon would always be preferable, and it would always be best to have a new supply for an emergency.

But just for the sake of peace-of-mind, I wanted to let everyone know, this stuff I had that was 3 years worked fine…


Does keeping them refrigerated prolong their life in some way? We don’t keep ours cool, but I guess we could if there were benefit to doing so.

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It does not need to be refrigerated. The directions recommend 25 degrees C (77 degrees F).

The one I tested was never refrigerated!

BTW, I like the mini-dose. Wish I could keep that vial for a while, but I know it dies after it is mixed. I am hovering at 109 now. Totally nailed it.


We have 2 glucagon kits and we’ve, fortunately, never had to use either - I’m of the mindset that if, in bad times, it’s all we have (even if it’s expired), it would be better than nothing, for Liam? Is that true? Does anyone know whether or not expired Glocagon could actually damage the body? I would think not, but I’m not sure. I would think maybe it just becomes less effective (if at all)

We just purchased our second one, btw, because our first expired. That REALLY pushed up our out of pocket. The glucagon was $100 by its self.

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I think better than nothing is true.

It is in a sterile vial. As long as the vial is intact, I don’t think anything would contaminate it and it would not be damaging.

I don’t know if it becomes less effective, but for a little guy like Liam, I promise that even if it is less effective, it would still do enough.

When I have been unconscious, a full dose of it always spiked me over the moon, so for a little guy it would certainly do enough.

I have ordered a replacement. I will see what it costs. I think there may be some deals you can get for it.


So, this has happened more than once? I recently had a scare while swimming with my kids. It shook me up enough that I’m trying to be okay with running a little higher, but that is proving more difficult than I thought. Gestational targets (since thise were the first I learned) prove to be both helpful (A1C) and stubborn (hard to feel okay outside that box). I need to write about this event separately and get some forum feedback, I think.

ETA: thanks for running the test, @Eric! I’ve often wondered about that!

And @Chris, what a great thought from your endo!

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The reason I had a glucagon kit that expired in 2014 is because I haven’t needed it in a while! So that’s the good news. :slight_smile:

But with so many decades of being a T1D before things like BG tests and CGM and more modern insulins…yes, I must admit, I have had glucagon given to me many times!

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I agree with all your statements.

For emergency, I think as long as you can get your kid to sit up a bit and drink something (using a straw is most helpful) you can avoid using glucagon. But if they can’t sip, don’t hesitate.

The only reason I did it today - outside of an emergency - is because I had one that was so old and figured I should replace it anyway, and throwing it out would be a waste. So I figured testing it would at least provide some value.


It doesn’t ‘need’ to be refrigerated, but like almost all meds, it will probably slow any deterioration if it is, I suspect… I know they keep them in refrigerator before they’re dispensed at my pharmacy… so I just decided to keep doing so

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Couldn’t hurt! I’m going to start keeping ours refrigerated as well. Thx!

Although I never really bothered to think about if it needs to be warmer to activate properly… I’d probably just read the package insert and do whatever it recommends… I don’t think I’m ever going to use it so I’ve not been terribly concerned with proper handling of mine

The manufacturer says to keep the Glucagon at room temperature and not to refrigerate it.

For what that is worth.

Sounds like another experiment for Eric.


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