If you have diabetes, your doctor may suggest including Baqsimi (glucagon) in your treatment plan. So you might be wondering about Baqsimi’s side effects.
Baqsimi is a brand-name nasal (nose) spray. It’s used in adults and some children to treat an emergency episode of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It can be a lifesaving medication.
Like many drugs, Baqsimi can cause mild or serious side effects. Read on to learn what you need to know about the possible side effects of Baqsimi.
For more in-depth information about Baqsimi, read this article.
Severe hypoglycemia is very dangerous and must be treated immediately. But Baqsimi isn’t a substitute for emergency treatment. After using Baqsimi, call 911 or your local emergency medical services right away.
Baqsimi may cause side effects in some people. More common side effects that have been reported include:
- nausea or vomiting
- nose, sinus, or throat irritation, such as a runny or stuffy nose and cough
- eye irritation
The list above includes a few of the more common side effects of Baqsimi. The following lists include some other possible side effects of this drug.
Some people may develop mild side effects after using Baqsimi.
Mild side effects of Baqsimi that have been reported include:
- nausea or vomiting*
- nose, sinus, or throat irritation*
- red, watery eyes*
- itchy nose, throat, or eyes
- changes in your sense of taste or smell
* For more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. Some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop using Baqsimi unless your doctor recommends it.
For more mild side effects, see Baqsimi’s prescribing information.
Serious side effects from Baqsimi aren’t common, but they can happen.
Serious side effects that have been reported include:
* For more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
Your risk for other serious side effects is higher if you have certain health conditions, such as specific types of tumors. For more information, see the “Warnings for Baqsimi” section below.
Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Baqsimi’s side effects.
How long do Baqsimi’s side effects last?
For most people, the side effects of Baqsimi are usually temporary.
Baqsimi stays in your system for about 3 hours after it’s absorbed through your nose. It’s possible that some side effects, such as nose discomfort, may linger for a few hours to a few days after using Baqsimi.
Are there any drug interactions that could increase my risk for side effects with Baqsimi?
Yes, Baqsimi can interact with beta-blockers. Taking Baqsimi with these drugs may raise your risk for certain side effects from Baqsimi.
Your doctor may have prescribed a beta-blocker for you if you have high blood pressure or heart failure. These medications are also used to treat other conditions, such as migraine and anxiety disorders.
If you’re taking both a beta-blocker and Baqsimi, temporary increases in heart rate and blood pressure are more likely to occur.
But severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is the condition that Baqsimi treats, is dangerous and can result in death. So your doctor may still recommend that you use Baqsimi if you take a beta-blocker.
After you receive a dose of Baqsimi, you or someone near you should call 911 or your local emergency medical services. When emergency medical personnel arrive, they’ll monitor your heart rate and blood pressure closely. If these vital signs remain high, they may want to take you to a hospital.
Does the use of decongestants or cold medications increase my risk for side effects from Baqsimi?
No, it doesn’t. In studies, the use of decongestants or cold medications had no effect on the risk of side effects from Baqsimi. People who had nasal congestion or the common cold also saw no increase in their risk for side effects of Baqsimi.
Will Baqsimi still work if I’ve passed out from very low blood sugar?
Yes, it’ll still work. Baqsimi is absorbed through your nose. It doesn’t require you to actively inhale it through your nose for it to work.
With severe cases of low blood sugar, you might pass out. Or you may otherwise be unable to give yourself a dose of Baqsimi.
When you’re prescribed Baqsimi, talk with your family members or others you spend time around. Let them know you have diabetes and how to give you Baqsimi. This way, they’ll be prepared in the event that you need to use the drug but can’t give it to yourself.
Learn more about some of the side effects Baqsimi may cause.
Nose, sinus, or throat side effects
Baqsimi is a dry nasal (nose) spray. This means it’s a powder that you spray into your nose. When you use a dose, your nose, sinuses, and throat are exposed to this powder. As a result, your nose, sinus, or throat may become irritated after using Baqsimi. Symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- nose discomfort
- stuffy nose
- itchy nose
- scratchy throat
- throat irritation
What might help
Nose, sinus, and throat side effects from Baqsimi tend to be mild and temporary. They’ll usually go away on their own within a few days.
If symptoms of nose, sinus, or throat irritation are bothering you, here are a few remedies that may help:
- Drink soothing beverages to relieve throat scratchiness or irritation. Some people find warm tea comforting, while others prefer ice water. Try both to see which works better for you.
- Try sucking on a lozenge. This increases moisture in your throat, which may help relieve throat irritation and cough.
- Use a saline nasal (nose) spray or apply a saline nasal gel inside your nostrils. Saline helps increase moisture in the lining of your nasal passages. This may reduce itching and stuffy nose as well as help prevent nosebleeds.
- Take an antihistamine to help relieve a runny nose, itching, and sneezing. Examples include over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine). But before you use these drugs, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if it’s safe for you to take an antihistamine.
- Take an OTC nasal decongestant, such as Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), to help relieve a stuffy nose. But if you have high blood pressure or take certain medications, this drug may not be safe for you to take. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking a nasal decongestant.
If these remedies don’t help ease your symptoms, or if your symptoms linger or get worse, talk with your doctor.
After using Baqsimi, your eyes may become itchy, red, or watery. In studies, many people who took Baqsimi had eye irritation.
Baqsimi is a dry nasal spray. This means it’s a powder that you spray into your nose. As the powder enters your nose, some of it can get in your eyes. Traces of the powder can also reach your eyes through your sinuses. This may irritate your eyes.
What might help
Eye irritation from Baqsimi usually goes away on its own within a few days. If you’re looking for ways to relieve bothersome symptoms in the meantime, here’s what might help:
- If you wear contact lenses, it’s probably best to use your glasses instead until your eyes feel better. Wearing contact lenses could irritate your eyes more.
- Antihistamines can help ease itchy, watery eyes. Examples of OTC antihistamines include Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine). Before you take an antihistamine, check with your doctor or pharmacist about whether it’s safe for you to do so.
- Antihistamine eye drops may bring some relief to your itchy, watery eyes. OTC examples include Visine-A (pheniramine and naphazoline) and Alaway (ketotifen). Your doctor or pharmacist can suggest suitable ones for you to try.
If none of these suggestions help ease your symptoms, or if your eye irritation gets worse, talk with your doctor.
Nausea or vomiting
Nausea was one of the more common side effects of Baqsimi in studies. For some people, nausea from Baqsimi led to vomiting. So vomiting was also a common side effect reported in these studies.
What might help
Nausea or vomiting from Baqsimi is usually temporary and goes away on its own. But if you’re looking for ways to help relieve these side effects, here are a few tips to try:
- Get some fresh air, which can help relieve nausea. If possible, open a window to increase air flow.
- Sit up straight, close your eyes, and take some deep, slow breaths. Deep breathing may help calm you and relax your body so that you feel less nauseous.
- Try natural remedies. For example, ginger is a popular herbal remedy for nausea.
- Eat a small amount of bland food. This can help reduce nausea or prevent you from vomiting. The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is often recommended for this purpose.
- Take an OTC medication for nausea. Some options include Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), and Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate). Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see which option is safe for you to take.
If these tips don’t help, or if your nausea or vomiting gets worse, talk with your doctor. They may recommend prescription or medical treatment if you become dehydrated.
Like most drugs, Baqsimi can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:
- flushing (warmth, swelling, or redness in your skin)
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
- hypotension (low blood pressure)
What might help
If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an OTC oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), or a topical product, such as hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.
If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Baqsimi, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.
If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.
If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Baqsimi, they may have you switch to a different treatment.
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 listed below.
Insulinoma. Insulinoma is a tumor of the pancreas. Taking Baqsimi can cause your pancreas to release too much insulin if you have this type of tumor. This could result in your blood sugar dropping even more, which may be harmful or even result in death.
If you have insulinoma, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Baqsimi or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take this drug. Ask your doctor about which other medications are better options for you.
Adrenal gland tumor. Pheochromocytoma is a tumor of the adrenal gland. If you have this type of tumor, taking Baqsimi can raise your blood pressure. In this case, you’ll want to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Baqsimi.
Low amounts of glycogen stored in your liver. Glycogen is a form of sugar that’s broken down from carbohydrates. Without enough glycogen stored in your liver and muscles, Baqsimi won’t work to raise blood sugar.
If it’s possible that you have low amounts of glycogen in your body, talk with your doctor about different treatment options.
Alcohol use and Baqsimi
Alcohol doesn’t affect how Baqsimi works. But if you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can make it more difficult to manage your blood sugar levels.
Also, while drinking alcohol, you may not notice the early symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This could lead to a more severe case of hypoglycemia.
Very low blood sugar is a medical emergency. You should use Baqsimi as soon as possible in this situation. But this medication isn’t a substitute for emergency treatment. After using Baqsimi, you or someone near you should call 911 or your local emergency medical services right away.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Baqsimi
Baqsimi hasn’t been studied during pregnancy. In studies of other drugs containing glucagon, no harmful effects were shown to occur during pregnancy.
It isn’t known how Baqsimi affects breast milk or if side effects could happen in children breastfed by someone using Baqsimi.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. Also talk with them if you’re breastfeeding. They can let you know the risks and benefits of using Baqsimi during this time.
Baqsimi is a nasal (nose) spray used to treat severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). After using Baqsimi, some people may have mild or serious side effects. For most people, the side effects are usually mild and temporary.
If you have questions about Baqsimi’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Here are a few suggestions about what to ask your doctor:
- Am I at a higher risk for side effects from Baqsimi than other people?
- Would this drug interact with any other medications I’m taking?
- Are there any changes I should make to my diabetes treatment plan to reduce my risk for side effects from Baqsimi?
I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting to help me lose weight. Would this increase my risk for side effects from Baqsimi?Anonymous patient
It’s possible that intermittent fasting can increase your risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with Baqsimi.
Although Baqsimi works to increase your blood sugar in an emergency situation, fasting of any type can raise your risk for low blood sugar.
When you don’t eat for a long time, your body runs low on glycogen (a stored form of glucose). Baqsimi is only effective at treating low blood sugar if your body has enough stored glycogen. In fasting situations, other treatment options may be more effective at treating severely low blood sugar.Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCPAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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.