If you have diabetes with episodes of low blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe Baqsimi. It’s used to treat severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in adults and some children with diabetes.

Baqsimi basics

Baqsimi contains the active ingredient glucagon, which is an antihypoglycemic drug. It comes as a powder within a device that you’ll use nasally (in your nose).

Baqsimi is available only in its brand-name form. It’s not available in a generic form.

Read on to learn about Baqsimi’s cost, how it works, and more.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Baqsimi in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Baqsimi manufacturer’s website to see if it has support options.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Baqsimi.

Is Baqsimi similar to Gvoke?

Yes, Baqsimi is similar to Gvoke because both drugs contain the same active ingredient, glucagon. But Gvoke is an injection that you receive subcutaneously (under your skin). Like Baqsimi, Gvoke is used to treat severely low blood sugar. Doctors can prescribe Gvoke for adults and for children ages 2 years and older.

How does Baqsimi compare with glucagon?

Baqsimi contains the active ingredient glucagon. In other forms, glucagon is given as an injection under the skin. But Baqsimi contains a powder form of glucagon that comes in a nasal device. You’ll take the drug through your nose.

If you’re having an episode of severe low blood sugar, you may not be able to give yourself a dose of glucagon. If you need help, someone else can apply Baqsimi into your nose instead of having to give you a glucagon injection. You don’t need to inhale to absorb the medication.

What’s the shelf life of Baqsimi?

According to the manufacturer’s website, Baqsimi has a shelf life of 2 years from the manufacturing date. But the shelf life also depends on how you store the product. You shouldn’t use Baqsimi after its expiration date.

You can keep Baqsimi at temperatures up to 86°F (30°C). It should be kept in the shrink-wrapped tube provided. This helps prevent the powder from being exposed to moisture.

After you use Baqsimi, the tube will be empty and should be thrown away.

How does Baqsimi work?

When you receive Baqsimi through your nose, it quickly raises sugar levels in your blood by triggering your liver to break down glycogen. Glycogen is a protein in the body that stores extra sugar. When your liver breaks down glycogen, sugar is released into your body, and your blood sugar level rises.

If you don’t have glycogen stored in your liver, glucagon won’t work. For more information about low glycogen, see “Warnings” in the “What should be considered before taking Baqsimi?” section below.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Baqsimi. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Taking Baqsimi

Baqsimi comes as a powder inside an intranasal device, which you use to apply the medication into your nose. The device contains 3 milligrams of glucagon, which is one dose.

You’ll insert the tip of the tube into one nostril and press the plunger all the way until the green line disappears. You don’t need to inhale the medication for it to be absorbed. In case you’re unable to give yourself a dose of Baqsimi, you’ll need to teach someone close to you how to give you the drug.

Immediately after receiving the dose of Baqsimi, you’ll need to call for emergency medical attention. You should eat or drink something sugary, such as hard candies or fruit juice, as soon as you are able to safely swallow. This ensures that your blood sugar won’t drop to dangerous levels again.

But if your blood sugar doesn’t improve with the first dose of Baqsimi, you’ll need a second dose while waiting for medical attention.

Dosage

You’ll use Baqsimi if you’re having an episode of severely low blood sugar. Baqsimi is taken as needed.

Taking Baqsimi with other drugs

If you take insulin or other diabetes medications that lower your blood sugar, ask your doctor about taking Baqsimi. Taking too much of these medications can cause a severe low blood sugar episode, which Baqsimi can treat.

Questions about taking Baqsimi

  • What if I don’t have Baqsimi with me during an episode of low blood sugar? You’ll need emergency medical attention if you’re having an episode of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and don’t have Baqsimi available. Baqsimi should be used only if you’re having a severe low blood sugar episode.
  • Will I need to use Baqsimi long term? You won’t need to use Baqsimi regularly or long term, but you may need diabetes medications long term. Diabetes medications can lower your blood sugar, so you should have Baqsimi available in case of a severe low blood sugar episode.
  • Should I take Baqsimi with food? After taking Baqsimi, you should eat or drink something that contains sugar as soon as you’re able to safely swallow. Try hard candies or fruit juice to help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. This can help prevent another episode of low blood sugar.
  • How long does Baqsimi take to work? Baqsimi works quickly to raise your blood sugar level. After taking Baqsimi, you should eat or drink something that contains sugar as soon as you are able to safely swallow. You should also check your blood sugar level 15 minutes after using Baqsimi. If it hasn’t improved, you should take another dose of Baqsimi. Make sure to call for emergency medical attention after you take Baqsimi. You’ll need medical care whether or not Baqsimi is helping.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Baqsimi and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Baqsimi affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare providers are there to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Like most drugs, Baqsimi may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Baqsimi may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you may be taking

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Baqsimi. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Baqsimi can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Baqsimi’s patient brochure.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Baqsimi include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Baqsimi can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Baqsimi, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Baqsimi include:

* For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects Baqsimi may cause.

Headache

Headache is a common side effect of Baqsimi. It may be hard to tell whether your headache is caused by Baqsimi or the low blood sugar episode. You may get a headache if you take other products that contain glucagon, such as Gvoke.

What might help

Since you’ll need medical attention after taking Baqsimi, talk with your doctor about your headache. They can recommend a pain reliever that is safe for you to take, if needed.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are side effects of Baqsimi. But having a low blood sugar episode might also make you feel nauseated. It may be hard to tell whether your nausea and vomiting are caused by Baqsimi or by the low blood sugar episode.

You may also have nausea and vomiting if you receive a glucagon injection.

What might help

If you lose consciousness (pass out) and someone gives you Baqsimi, you may feel nauseated and vomit when you regain consciousness. As soon as you are able to safely swallow, you’ll need to eat something with sugar, such as hard candies or fruit juice. This will help keep your blood sugar from dropping again. You may feel less nauseous as your blood sugar returns to normal.

After receiving Baqsimi, you’ll need emergency medical attention. If your nausea and vomiting are bothersome, talk with your doctor about how you can relieve this side effect.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Baqsimi. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth or redness/deepening of skin color for a brief time)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing. Low blood pressure is another reaction people may have if they are allergic to Baqsimi or its inactive ingredients.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Baqsimi. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Baqsimi is used to treat severe low blood sugar in people with diabetes. Doctors may prescribe Baqsimi for adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Symptoms of severe low blood sugar may include:

Baqsimi contains the active ingredient glucagon. Glucagon helps raise your blood sugar by breaking down a protein called glycogen, which stores excess sugar in your liver. Glucagon helps your liver to break down glycogen, which then releases sugar into your bloodstream.

Without enough glycogen in the liver, glucagon will not work. For more information about low glycogen, see “Warnings” in the section directly below.

Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering Baqsimi include your overall health and any medical conditions you may have. Tell your doctor if you’re taking medications. This is important because some drugs may interfere with Baqsimi.

These and other considerations to discuss with your doctor are described below.

Interactions

Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Baqsimi, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take (including prescription and over-the-counter types). Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Baqsimi.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Baqsimi can interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Baqsimi. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with the use of Baqsimi.

Warnings

Baqsimi may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Baqsimi. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Pheochromocytoma. Pheochromocytoma is a type of cancer that develops in the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys and produce certain hormones. If you have a pheochromocytoma, Baqsimi may release a substance called catecholamine from the cancer cells. Catecholamines can cause serious increases in blood pressure. If you use Baqsimi and you have a pheochromocytoma, your doctor may give you a medication called phentolamine. This medication can temporarily and quickly help lower your blood pressure.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Baqsimi or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Baqsimi. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Insulinoma. An insulinoma is a type of cancer that releases insulin. If you take Baqsimi and you have an insulinoma, your liver will still release sugar into your blood stream. But this may cause too much insulin to be released from the insulinoma, which can lower your blood sugar level again. If you take Baqsimi and you have an insulinoma, you may need to receive an injection of sugar intravenously (into your vein).
  • Low glycogen. If you don’t have glycogen stores in your liver, Baqsimi won’t work. Glycogen is a protein that stores sugar in your liver. Baqsimi increases blood sugar by helping your liver break down glycogen. People have low glycogen levels when they have certain health issues. These include being in a state of starvation or having problems with their adrenal glands (glands that produce certain hormones). If you have low glycogen levels, you may need to receive sugar injections or eat or drink something sugary, such as hard candies or fruit juice.

Use with alcohol

Some medications interact with alcohol, but Baqsimi isn’t one of them. But before taking Baqsimi, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol.

If you’re taking Baqsimi to treat severe low blood sugar while taking diabetes medications, talk with your doctor. Alcohol may not be safe for you because of its effects on blood sugar.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Some small studies have been done on the effects of glucagon (the active ingredient in Baqsimi) in pregnancy. No evidence has been found of glucagon causing birth irregularities, pregnancy loss, or other pregnancy-related issues.

No information is available on whether glucagon passes into breast milk or its effects on a child who is breastfed. If glucagon does pass into breast milk, the child would likely digest it because glucagon is a protein. So it’s unlikely to cause harm.

Don’t take more Baqsimi than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

Your blood potassium levels may drop if you take too much Baqsimi.

What to do in case you take too much Baqsimi

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Baqsimi. Your doctor may monitor your potassium levels and provide the appropriate treatment if needed. If you have a severe increase in your blood pressure, your doctor may give you a drug called phentolamine. Phentolamine can temporarily and quickly lower your blood pressure.

You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have questions about taking Baqsimi, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor can tell you more about Baqsimi as well as let you know about other treatments you can use for your condition.

Some questions to ask your doctor about Baqsimi may include:

  • After taking Baqsimi, which sugary products should I eat or drink?
  • Can I keep Baqsimi in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life?
  • How can I prevent a severe low blood sugar episode with my diabetes medications?
  • Where is the best place to keep Baqsimi?

And here’s a list of other articles you might find helpful:

Q:

If I’m having an episode of severe low blood sugar and I have an expired tube of Baqsimi, can I still use it?

Anonymous patient

A:

You shouldn’t use Baqsimi after the expiration date printed on the tube or carton. Baqsimi has a shelf life of 2 years from the manufacturing date. To make sure you have Baqsimi for emergency situations, you should replace Baqsimi before it expires.

If you are having severe hypoglycemia, you’ll need to call for emergency medical attention. If you’re able to safely swallow, you should eat or drink something sugary, such as hard candies or fruit juice.

Neal Patel, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.