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Severe hypoglycemia is a complication of insulin therapy and a continuing barrier to achieving glycemic targets at every age. Glucagon, a drug that has been on the market for several decades, is an effective treatment for severe hypoglycemia, but is underutilized. The emotional impact of severe hypoglycemia and the emergency use of glucagon is not clear. This study aimed to understand current perceptions of glucagon from both the perspective of people with T1D and people likely to aid in an emergency situation. All participants were recruited from T1D Exchange Glu (www.myglu.org), an online community for individuals living with T1D. The current study conducted interviews with people with T1D (n=9, average age 44.7 years) and caregivers (n=8, average age 37.8 years) of minors with T1D. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. Participants described experiences and emotions surrounding severe hypoglycemia, importance of specific glucagon characteristics, and priorities during severe hypoglycemia. Participants expressed on a 1-10 scale the importance of glucagon’s time to recovery (average: 8.56), mode of administration (average: 8.56), cost (average: 5.67), and not requiring refrigeration (average: 9.56). Themes among participants with T1D included feelings of distress, fear, and helplessness; common caregiver themes included feeling intimidated by the administration of glucagon. People with T1D discussed how they make decisions during a hypoglycemic emergency and rely on others for decision-making. Participants described their ideal glucagon and emphasized how fast glucagon needs to be, the desire for minimal side effects, and different administration types. These results provide insight into the real-world impact of diabetes on both persons with T1D and their caregivers and highlight the attitudes about severe hypoglycemia and emergency treatment with glucagon.
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