Novo Nordisk Canada/Paladin Labs has recently announced the end of production of its GlucaGen HypoKit, following in the steps of Eli Lilly, who also recently stopped producing and selling its injectable glucagon emergency kit. The company specified that these products will no longer be available starting February 2024.
The company’s decision is based on the same reasons as Eli Lilly’s: the demand for injectable glucagon is declining in favour of nasal glucagon, which is now available and covered by public plans in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and the Northwest Territories, among others, as well as by all federal health benefit programs for people aged 4 and over. The company has made this decision for the same reasons as Eli Lilly: the demand for injectable glucagon is decreasing in favour of nasal glucagon, which is now available and covered by public plans in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories, among others. It is also covered by all federal health benefit programs for people aged 4 and above.
While nasal glucagon has shown multiple advantages (e.g., ease and speed of administration, shelf life), injectable glucagon remains the only emergency treatment that is authorized for children under 4 years of age living with T1D. Mini-doses of glucagon have also proven very effective in cases of gastroenteritis, so they may still be necessary even though this is not the intended usage.
If required, injectable glucagon will still be available, as Health Canada has authorized Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s glucagon injection kit on the Canadian market. This is the first biosimilar glucagon (a copy of the original glucagon) available on the U.S. market.
Many organizations, particularly in the field of pediatrics, have urged Health Canada to keep both forms of glucagon—injectable and nasal—on the market to meet all needs.
If you’re currently using Novo Nordisk Canada/Paladin Labs’ injectable glucagon and wish to continue using it, you can ask your or your child’s healthcare team to prescribe it or ask your pharmacy to order it for you.
This injectable glucagon is similar to the Glucagen Hypokit: a vial of powdered glucagon to be reconstituted with the provided liquid-filled syringe, enclosed in a plastic case. It will come with the U.S. label, as there is no equivalent Canadian label.
Generic injectable glucagon keeps at room temperature (between 20° and 25°C). Make sure to note the expiry date when you purchase it at a pharmacy.
- Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. Glucagon Emergency Kit for Low Blood Sugar. Page consultée le 10 juillet 2023. https://www.amphastar.com/assets/01-025-01_12-22.pdf
- Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. Glucagon for Injection →Glucagon for Injection outside of the United States. Page consultée le 11 juillet 2023. https://www.amphastar.com/glucagon.html
- Cision (Toronto, 2022, 3 février). Baqsimi® (glucagon nasal), traitement de secours en cas d’hypoglycémie sévère, maintenant couvert au Québec. Sur le site de NewsWire. Page consultée le 11 juillet 2023. https://www.newswire.ca/fr/news-releases/baqsimi-r-glucagon-nasal-traitement-de-secours-en-cas-d-hypoglycemie-severe-maintenant-couvert-au-quebec-816890173.html
Written by: Nathalie Kinnard, scientific writter and research assistant
Reviewed by :
- Sarah Haag, RD, B.Sc.
- Remi Rabasa-Lhoret, MD., PhD
- Domitille Dervaux, Claude Laforest, Aude Bandini, Eve Poirier, Jacques Pelletier, patient partners for the BETTER project
Linguistic revision by: Marie-Christine Payette