Proglycem (diazoxide) is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) caused by certain conditions.

Proglycem for adults

In adults, Proglycem is approved to treat hypoglycemia related to high insulin levels caused by:

* Adenoma is a type of noncancerous tumor.
† Carcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in the skin or the tissues that line other organs.

Proglycem for infants and children

Proglycem is also approved for use in infants and children. For this purpose, it can treat hypoglycemia related to high insulin levels caused by:

  • sensitivity to leucine (an amino acid)
  • islet cell hyperplasia (abnormal growth in the pancreas)
  • nesidioblastosis (when the pancreas has too many cells that make insulin)
  • certain tumors that don’t affect the pancreas
  • islet cell adenoma or adenomatosis (multiple adenomas)

In infants and children, Proglycem can also be used temporarily to treat hypoglycemia before or after surgery.

Proglycem details

Proglycem comes as a suspension (liquid) that you take by mouth. You take the dose with a dropper that comes with the medication.

Proglycem belongs to a class of medications known as glucose-elevating drugs. (A medication class is a group of drugs that work in a similar way.) Proglycem contains the active drug diazoxide.

Effectiveness

For information on Proglycem’s effectiveness, see the “Proglycem uses” section below.

Proglycem is available as a generic drug called diazoxide. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Proglycem contains the active drug diazoxide.

The Proglycem dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Proglycem to treat
  • your weight (doses are determined by your weight in kilograms, such as 3 mg/kg)
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Proglycem comes as a suspension (liquid) that you take by mouth. You take the dose with a dropper that comes with the medication. In the United States, Proglycem is available in one strength: 50 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).

In other countries, Proglycem is also available as a capsule that you take by mouth. This capsule version of Proglycem is available in different strengths, depending on the country. For example, in Canada, Proglycem capsules come in a strength of 100 mg.

Although Proglycem is available in different dosage forms and strengths in other countries, you shouldn’t order Proglycem online from foreign pharmacies. Taking these products puts you at risk because the drugs and their manufacturers aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means that these products haven’t been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. Therefore, there’s no way to know what’s actually inside the capsule.

Dosage in adults and children

In adults and children, the typical daily dose of Proglycem is 3 to 8 mg/kg, given as two or three equal doses every 8 or 12 hours.

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg) and your doctor prescribes a daily dose of 3 mg/kg, your total daily dose will be 204 mg. This dose is split into two or three equal doses over the course of the day. For example, you may take three doses of 68 mg every 8 hours.

However, your dosage of Proglycem should be adjusted depending on how severe your condition is and how your body responds to the drug. Your doctor will work with you to find the right dosage for you.

Dosage in infants and newborns

In infants and newborns, the typical daily dosage of Proglycem is 8 to 15 mg/kg, given as two or three equal doses every 8 or 12 hours.

So, for example, if your infant weighs 17 pounds (8 kg) and their doctor prescribes a daily dose of 10 mg/kg, their total daily dose will be 80 mg. This dose is split into two or three equal doses over the course of the day. For example, they may take two doses of 40 mg every 12 hours.

However, the dosage of Proglycem should be adjusted depending on how severe your child’s condition is and how their body responds to the drug. You and your child’s doctor will work together to find the right dosage for your child.

What if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take your dose of Proglycem, call your doctor right away. They can tell you when to take your next dose.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Proglycem is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Proglycem is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Proglycem can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Proglycem. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Proglycem, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Proglycem, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Proglycem can include:*

  • fluid retention† (swelling)
  • abnormal hair growth, such as on the forehead or back†
  • hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • nausea and vomiting†
  • abdominal (belly) pain†
  • loss of appetite†
  • diarrhea†
  • temporary loss of taste†
  • heart palpitations (feeling like your heart skipped a beat or had an extra beat)
  • high levels of uric acid in your blood (which can cause gout)

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Proglycem. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Proglycem’s prescribing information.
† For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Proglycem aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

For the most part, side effects in children taking Proglycem are similar to those in adults. These side effects are listed above.

However, pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) has been reported in infants and newborns treated with Proglycem. This side effect hasn’t been seen in adults.

Pulmonary hypertension wasn’t seen in clinical trials, but it’s been reported since the drug was released onto the market. This condition went away once the drug was stopped.

Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • fatigue (lack of energy)

Also, one clinic reported the development of abnormal facial features in four children who were prescribed Proglycem. All four children were treated with the drug for more than 4 years.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on some of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Proglycem. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

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
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

It’s not known how often an allergic reaction has occurred in people taking Proglycem.

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Proglycem. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Fluid retention

Fluid retention is a common side effect of Proglycem. This is because Proglycem prevents your body from getting rid of as much sodium and water as it normally would.

One study that was done after Proglycem was released onto the market found that 8.3% of people who took this drug had fluid retention. Proglycem wasn’t compared with any other treatments in this study.

Most cases of fluid retention aren’t severe. However, this side effect can lead to heart failure in people with a history of heart problems. (See the “Proglycem precautions” section below to learn more.)

Symptoms of fluid retention include swelling, changes in skin color, stiffness in your joints, and sudden weight gain.

If you have any of these symptoms while taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor. They can determine whether the drug could be causing these side effects.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a rare but potentially life threatening side effect of Proglycem.

DKA happens when your cells don’t get enough glucose (sugar) and your body begins burning fat for energy. This process creates ketones, which are chemicals your body can also use for energy.

Having too many ketones can be dangerous. If they build up, they make your blood more acidic. Eventually, this can turn into DKA.

DKA normally occurs in people with diabetes. However, because Proglycem stops your body from releasing insulin, it can cause DKA, even in people who don’t have diabetes. It’s not known how often this condition has occurred in people taking Proglycem.

DKA may happen more frequently when people taking the drug have an illness, such as the common cold. Therefore, if you get a cold while taking Proglycem, ask your doctor if you should get your blood sugar tested more frequently while you’re sick.

Symptoms of DKA

Symptoms of DKA can include:

  • hyperglycemia
  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating more often than usual
  • fruity-smelling breath
  • having a hard time paying attention
  • confusion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal pain

DKA is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment in the hospital. If not treated, it can lead to coma or death. If you experience any of the side effects above, call 911 or your local emergency phone number.

Coma that’s caused by complications of extreme hyperglycemia

In addition to DKA, Proglycem can cause a similar condition known as hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). This condition was previously known as hyperosmolar nonketotic coma.

Like DKA, HHS is rare. It occurs most commonly in people with diabetes. However, because of how Proglycem works, it can cause this side effect even in people who don’t have diabetes. It’s not known how often HHS has occurred in people taking Proglycem.

HHS happens when your blood sugar is high, and there isn’t enough insulin in your body. Because insulin is limited, your cells can’t take glucose (sugar) from your blood to use for energy. Instead, your body starts breaking down a stored form of glucose called glycogen. Glycogen is primarily stored in your liver and muscles.

Normally, your body only starts breaking down glycogen when it’s starving. However, with HHS, your body mistakenly thinks it’s starving. Therefore, it continues to break down your glycogen to make new glucose, even though your blood sugar levels are already high. Because your body keeps making new glucose, your blood sugar levels keep getting higher.

People with HHS typically have a blood sugar level above 600 mg/dL. A normal blood sugar level for people without diabetes is under 100 mg/dL.

Symptoms of HHS

Symptoms of HHS can include:

  • urinating more often than usual
  • dehydration (low fluid levels) or increased thirst
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • confusion

HHS is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment in the hospital. If you experience the symptoms listed above, call 911 or your local emergency phone number.

Abnormal hair growth

Abnormal hair growth, also known as hirsutism, is a potential side effect of Proglycem. According to a 1997 survey, 4% of people taking the drug reported hirsutism. This survey didn’t include people taking drugs other than Proglycem.

In people taking Proglycem, abnormal hair growth commonly occurs on the forehead, back, arms, and legs. It seems to affect women and children more than men.

Typically, the abnormal hair goes away once the drug is stopped. If you notice abnormal hair growth while taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor.

Digestive problems

Some people may experience digestive problems while taking Proglycem. For example, in a 1997 survey of people taking the drug, 1% reported experiencing nausea. This survey didn’t include people taking drugs other than Proglycem.

Examples of digestive problems reported by people taking the drug include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • temporarily loss of taste
  • ileus (buildup of food in your intestines)

Talk with your doctor if you experience any of these side effects. They may suggest a treatment to relieve your side effects. They may also adjust your Proglycem dosage or have you switch to a different drug.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Proglycem to treat certain conditions.

Proglycem uses in adults

In adults, Proglycem is FDA-approved to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) caused by two conditions.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma or carcinoma that can’t be surgically removed

Proglycem can treat hypoglycemia caused by tumors in the pancreas (islet cell adenoma or carcinoma).

Islet cells are cells in the pancreas that produce and release hormones, like insulin. Like other cells in the body, islet cells can develop tumors. Adenomas and carcinomas are two types of tumors. Adenomas are benign (noncancerous), while carcinomas are malignant (cancerous).

When a tumor develops in your islet cells, these cells may start releasing too much insulin. This causes hypoglycemia.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma or carcinoma that can’t be surgically removed

According to guidelines from the National Cancer Institute, diazoxide (the active drug in Proglycem) is effective for treating hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma or carcinoma that can’t be removed with surgery.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by certain tumors that don’t affect the pancreas

Proglycem can also treat hypoglycemia caused by tumors that don’t affect the pancreas. It’s not known what causes these tumors. They are rare, and they occur most commonly in the small intestine.

These tumors cause hypoglycemia by raising the levels of certain substances your body makes that are very similar to insulin. One of these substances is insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II). Like insulin, IGF-II can cause hypoglycemia if there’s too much of it in your body.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by certain tumors that don’t affect the pancreas

There is limited evidence regarding how effective Proglycem is for treating this condition. Talk with your doctor to see if this drug is right for you.

Proglycem uses in children

Proglycem is also FDA-approved to treat several conditions that affect infants and children.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by sensitivity to leucine

In infants and children, Proglycem can treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) caused by a sensitivity to leucine, which is an amino acid (protein). Leucine is naturally found in the body, as well as in foods like chicken, beef, and fish.

Leucine-sensitive hypoglycemia is a condition in which certain genetic mutations (abnormalities) cause your blood sugar to drop when you are exposed to leucine. For example, this could occur after eating a food that contains leucine.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by sensitivity to leucine

According to guidelines from the National Institute of Rare Diseases, diazoxide (the active drug in Proglycem) is effective for treating this condition.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell hyperplasia

Proglycem is approved to treat hypoglycemia caused by islet cell hyperplasia in infants and children.

Islet cells are cells in the pancreas that produce and release hormones, like insulin. “Hyperplasia” refers to cells that’re growing too quickly. This causes the cells to become too large. When islet cells become too large, they may release more insulin than your body needs. This can cause hypoglycemia.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell hyperplasia

According to guidelines from the National Cancer Institute, diazoxide (the active drug in Proglycem) is effective for treating hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma. It’s also effective for treating carcinoma that can’t be removed with surgery.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by nesidioblastosis

In infants and children, Proglycem can treat hypoglycemia that’s caused by nesidioblastosis (when the pancreas has too many cells that make insulin). This condition is also referred to as congenital hyperinsulinism. (Congenital means the condition is present from birth. Hyperinsulinism means high levels of insulin.)

Nesidioblastosis mainly occurs in children. This condition affects certain cells in the pancreas, called islet cells. These cells release hormones, such as insulin, that your body needs. However, in some people, these cells begin to release too much insulin. When this happens, it can cause hypoglycemia.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by nesidioblastosis

According to the National Institute of Rare Diseases, diazoxide (the active drug in Proglycem) is an effective treatment for high levels of insulin causing hypoglycemia in infants and children. This includes hypoglycemia caused by nesidioblastosis.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by certain tumors that don’t affect the pancreas

In infants and children, Proglycem can also treat hypoglycemia caused by tumors that don’t affect the pancreas. To learn more, see “Proglycem uses in adults” above.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma or adenomatosis

In infants and children, Proglycem can treat hypoglycemia that’s caused by islet cell adenoma or adenomatosis (multiple adenomas). For more information on islet cell adenomas, see the “Proglycem uses in adults” section above.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma or adenomatosis

According to the National Cancer Institute, diazoxide (the active drug in Proglycem) is effective for treating hypoglycemia caused by islet cell adenoma.

Proglycem for hypoglycemia that occurs before surgery or after surgery

In infants and children, Proglycem is also approved to treat hypoglycemia that occurs before or after surgery.

Surgery is a treatment option for some people with hypoglycemia, such as in people with an islet cell adenoma that can be removed surgically. However, surgery isn’t 100% effective for everyone. Some people will still need medication to help control their blood sugar even after surgery.

Effectiveness for hypoglycemia that occurs before surgery or after surgery

There is limited evidence for the effectiveness of Proglycem to treat this condition. Talk with your child’s doctor to see if this drug is right for your child.

There aren’t any known interactions between Proglycem and alcohol. However, alcohol can affect your blood sugar level. For some people, drinking alcohol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Drinking alcohol can also cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to drink during your Proglycem treatment.

Proglycem can interact with several other medications.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Proglycem and other medications

Here we look at several medications that can interact with Proglycem. This section doesn’t discuss all drugs that may interact with Proglycem.

Before taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Proglycem and warfarin

Proglycem can interact with the drug warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). Warfarin is a blood thinner used to help prevent blood clots.

Taking warfarin with Proglycem can cause the levels of either medication to get too high or too low. This may make the drugs less effective. It could also raise your risk for side effects.

If you take warfarin, be sure to let your doctor know before using Proglycem. Because warfarin levels can be measured using a lab test, you may just need to have your warfarin levels tested more often. Your doctor may also adjust your dose of either medication or have you switch to a different drug to treat your condition.

Proglycem and certain seizure drugs

Proglycem may interact with phenytoin (Phenytek, Dilantin). This is a drug that helps prevent seizures in people with epilepsy. Taking phenytoin with Proglycem can cause phenytoin to be less effective.

If you take phenytoin, talk with your doctor before using Proglycem. They may adjust your dosage of either drug or have you switch to a different medication to treat your condition.

Proglycem and certain blood pressure drugs

Certain blood pressure medications called thiazide diuretics can interact with Proglycem.

Taking Proglycem with these medications can cause Proglycem to have stronger effects than normal. This can lead to side effects such as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Examples of thiazide diuretics include:

  • hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)
  • chlorthalidone
  • metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
  • indapamide
  • hydroflumethiazide

If you take a thiazide diuretic, talk with your doctor before taking Proglycem. They may adjust your dosage of the diuretic or switch you to a different medication.

Proglycem and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Proglycem. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Proglycem.

Proglycem and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Proglycem. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Proglycem, talk with your doctor.

Proglycem and lab tests

Proglycem can affect the results of certain lab tests and give a false reading. These include:

  • Tests for renin secretion. Renin is a hormone made and secreted by your kidneys. It plays a role in managing blood pressure and maintaining fluid balance.
  • Tests for IgG concentrations. IgG is the most common antibody (a protein that helps your body fight infection.)
  • Tests for cortisol secretion. Cortisol is a hormone your body makes to help you handle stress.

If you’re taking Proglycem, be sure to tell your doctor before having any lab tests done.

As with all medications, the cost of Proglycem can vary. To find current prices for Proglycem in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Proglycem, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Proglycem, contact your insurance plan.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Proglycem, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., the manufacturer of Proglycem, offers cost savings programs for this drug. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 877-237-4881 or visit the program website.

Generic version

Proglycem is available in a generic form called diazoxide. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of diazoxide compares to the cost of Proglycem, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Proglycem and you’re interested in using diazoxide instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Proglycem, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for hypoglycemia that’s caused by certain conditions

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat hypoglycemia that’s caused by certain conditions include:

  • glucagon (GlucaGen, Baqsimi, Gvoke)
  • diazoxide (generic Proglycem)
  • octreotide (Sandostatin)
  • everolimus (Afinitor, Zortress)

You may wonder how Proglycem compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Proglycem and GlucaGen are alike and different.

Ingredients

Proglycem contains the active drug diazoxide. GlucaGen contains the active drug glucagon.

Uses

Proglycem and GlucaGen are both FDA-approved to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). However, their uses differ because they treat hypoglycemia caused by different conditions.

In adults, Proglycem can treat hypoglycemia related to high insulin levels caused by:

Proglycem is also approved for use in infants and children. For this purpose, it can treat hypoglycemia related to high insulin levels caused by:

  • sensitivity to leucine (an amino acid)
  • islet cell hyperplasia (abnormal growth in the pancreas)
  • nesidioblastosis (when the pancreas has too many cells that make insulin)
  • certain tumors that don’t affect the pancreas
  • islet cell adenoma or adenomatosis (many adenomas)

In infants and children, Proglycem can also be used temporarily before or after surgery to treat hypoglycemia.

GlucaGen is FDA-approved to treat severe hypoglycemia in adults and in children. GlucaGen is also FDA-approved to temporarily stop muscle movements in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract during certain diagnostic exams.

Drug forms and administration

Proglycem comes as a suspension (liquid) that you take by mouth. You take the dose with a dropper that comes with the medication.

GlucaGen comes as a powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution. It’s given as an injection.

GlucoGen Hypokit comes with a disposable syringe prefilled with sterile water. This syringe is used to mix the GlucaGen powder into a solution. This form can be injected:

The drug is also available in another form, called the GlucaGen Diagnostic Kit. This form is given by a healthcare provider.

Side effects and risks

Proglycem and GlucaGen have some similar side effects and others that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Proglycem, with GlucaGen, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Proglycem:
    • abnormal hair growth, such as on the forehead or back
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • loss of appetite
    • diarrhea
    • temporary loss of taste
  • Can occur with GlucaGen:
  • Can occur with both Proglycem and GlucaGen:
    • nausea and vomiting

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Proglycem, with GlucaGen, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. However, studies have found both Proglycem and GlucaGen to be effective for treating hypoglycemia.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Proglycem is generally more expensive than GlucaGen. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Proglycem and GlucaGen are both brand-name drugs. They are also both available as generic medications. Proglycem is available as the generic medication diazoxide. GlucaGen is available as the generic medication glucagon. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

You should take Proglycem according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

Proglycem comes as a suspension (liquid) that you take by mouth. It comes with a special dropper to help take your dose. This dropper is designed to give Proglycem doses of 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, or 50 mg.

When to take

When you take Proglycem may depend on how often you’re supposed to take the drug each day.

Proglycem should be taken two or three times daily. If your doctor wants you to take Proglycem twice a day, try to take your doses about 12 hours apart. Taking one dose in the morning and one dose at night may be helpful.

If your doctor wants you to take Proglycem three times a day, try to take your doses about 8 hours apart.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Taking Proglycem with food

Proglycem can be taken with or without food.

Proglycem helps treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to several different conditions in adults and children.

How blood sugar works

When you eat, a type of sugar called glucose is broken down from the food and travels into your bloodstream. Your body then releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin takes glucose from your bloodstream and helps to transport it into your body’s cells. Cells use glucose for energy.

Dangers of excess insulin

Although your body needs a certain amount of insulin to function properly, having too much insulin can lead to complications.

Insulin helps prevent your blood sugar from getting too high. However, insulin can also cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Hypoglycemia occurs more frequently in people with diabetes, but it can happen to anyone whose blood sugar gets too low.

Excess insulin can be caused by several different factors. For example, some people develop tumors in certain types of cells known as islet cells. These are cells in the pancreas that produce and release hormones, including insulin. Like other cells in the body, islet cells can develop tumors.

These tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). When a tumor develops in your islet cells, these cells may start releasing too much insulin. This causes hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also be caused by tumors that don’t affect the pancreas. It’s not known what causes these tumors. They are rare, and they occur most commonly in the small intestine.

These tumors cause hypoglycemia by raising the levels of certain substances your body makes that are very similar to insulin. One of these substances is insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II). Like insulin, IGF-II can cause hypoglycemia if there’s too much of it in your body.

What Proglycem does

Proglycem treats hypoglycemia by blocking the release of insulin from the pancreas. Proglycem also blocks the release of substances similar to insulin, such as IGF-II, outside the pancreas.

How long does it take to work?

Proglycem begins working within an hour of taking a dose. However, it may take a few days before you notice any improvement in symptoms.

If your symptoms haven’t improved after taking Proglycem for 2 to 3 weeks, be sure to tell your doctor. If the medication isn’t working at that point, your doctor may have you stop taking Proglycem and switch to a different treatment.

It’s unknown whether Proglycem is safe to use during pregnancy. This drug hasn’t been studied in pregnant women.

When Proglycem was given to pregnant rats in animal studies, some birth defects were noted. Some of the offspring were also born with high blood sugar levels. However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in people.

Diazoxide, the active drug in Proglycem, has been used to treat severe high blood pressure in pregnant women. However, it’s important to note that diazoxide isn’t FDA-approved for this use.

If you’re pregnant or could become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Proglycem. Together, you can discuss the risks and benefits of taking this drug compared with other treatment options.

It’s not known if Proglycem is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Proglycem.

For more information about taking Proglycem during pregnancy, see the “Proglycem and pregnancy” section above.

It’s not known if it’s safe to use Proglycem while breastfeeding or whether the drug passes into breast milk. And, if it is present, it’s not certain what effects it may have on the breastfed infant.

If you have questions about breastfeeding while taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Proglycem.

Can Proglycem be used to treat hyperglycemia?

No, you shouldn’t use Proglycem to treat hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). In fact, hyperglycemia is a potential side effect of Proglycem.

Proglycem treats hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Other medications, such as insulin, can be used to treat hyperglycemia. If you have questions about treating hyperglycemia, talk with your doctor.

If I have hypoglycemia from a diabetes medication, can I use Proglycem to treat it?

No, Proglycem shouldn’t be used for treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) caused by a diabetes medication. Proglycem isn’t approved for this use.

Another medication, GlucaGen, is approved to treat severe hypoglycemia. GlucaGen may be used for hypoglycemia caused by diabetes medications. There’s also a generic version of GlucaGen, called glucagon. It’s important to note that GlucaGen or glucagon shouldn’t be used every day. They’re used as needed for episodes of severe hypoglycemia.

If you’re frequently experiencing hypoglycemia and you think it’s because of your diabetes medication, talk with your doctor. They may need to adjust the dosage or have you try a different medication for your diabetes. They may also recommend dietary or lifestyle changes if they think the hypoglycemia isn’t caused by your medications.

What does Proglycem taste like?

According to the drug’s manufacturer, Proglycem has a chocolate-mint flavor. Its ingredients include sorbitol solution, mint flavor, and chocolate cream flavor.

Will I have to urinate less often than usual while I’m taking Proglycem?

Possibly. In clinical trials, some people reported that they urinated less frequently, or made less urine, while taking Proglycem.

Fluid retention (swelling) is a common side effect of Proglycem. This is because Proglycem prevents your body from getting rid of as much sodium and water as it normally would. Therefore, it may cause you to urinate less often than usual.

If you have concerns about this side effect during your Proglycem treatment, talk with your doctor.

Do I need to follow a certain diet while I’m using Proglycem?

It’s possible that your doctor will want you to follow certain dietary guidelines while taking Proglycem.

For example, because the drug can cause fluid retention, you may need to limit the amount of fluid you take in. You may also need to limit the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet. This is because Proglycem also causes your body to retain sodium.

If you have questions about your diet during your Proglycem treatment, talk with your doctor.

Will my doctor order any lab tests to monitor me during Proglycem treatment?

Yes, your doctor will likely order lab tests to monitor your body’s response to Proglycem. These tests may include checking the amount of sugar and ketones in your urine and blood. This is to see whether the drug is working and to help check for any side effects.

Ketones are chemicals that your body can use for energy instead of glucose (sugar) if there isn’t enough glucose available. However, having too many ketones can be dangerous. If they build up, they make your blood more acidic. Eventually, this can turn into diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life threatening medical emergency.

For more information on diabetic ketoacidosis, see the “Proglycem side effects” section above.

Your doctor will likely also order tests to make sure your kidneys are working properly. This is because your kidneys play an important role in breaking down Proglycem.

If you have other questions about lab tests while taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor.

Before taking Proglycem, talk with your doctor about your health history. Proglycem may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Heart disease. People with heart disease have a higher risk for certain side effects of Proglycem, like heart failure. Proglycem may also worsen existing heart disease. If you have a history of heart disease, talk with your doctor before taking Proglycem.
  • Gout. Proglycem can increase the amount of uric acid in your blood, which can make gout worse. If you have gout, talk with your doctor before taking Proglycem.
  • Kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, your body may not break down Proglycem as well as it should. This means you may need to take a lower dose of the drug. Talk with your doctor before taking Proglycem if you have kidney disease.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Proglycem or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Proglycem. Ask your doctor about other medications that may work better for you.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if it’s safe to use Proglycem during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Proglycem and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s unknown whether it’s safe to take Proglycem while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Proglycem and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Proglycem, see the “Proglycem side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Proglycem can lead to serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency phone number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Because Proglycem remains in your body for a long time, you may need to be monitored for up to 7 days after a Proglycem overdose. This is to make sure your blood sugar levels remain at a safe level.

When you get Proglycem from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Proglycem should be stored at room temperature (77ºF/25ºC) in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Proglycem and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

In adults, Proglycem is indicated for treating hypoglycemia caused by hyperinsulinism associated with:

  • an inoperable islet cell adenoma or carcinoma, or
  • an extrapancreatic malignancy

In infants and children, Proglycem is approved for treating hypoglycemia caused by hyperinsulinism associated with:

  • adenomatosis
  • extrapancreatic malignancy
  • islet cell adenoma
  • islet cell hyperplasia
  • leucine sensitivity
  • nesidioblastosis
  • preoperative or postoperative hypoglycemia

Administration

Proglycem is supplied as an oral suspension taken by mouth two to three times daily. The suspension should be shaken well before each dose. Proglycem comes supplied with a dropper for delivering doses in increments of 10 mg, up to 50 mg.

The typical daily dosage for adults and children is 3 to 8 mg/kg divided into two or three equal doses given every 8 to 12 hours.

For infants and newborns, the typical daily dosage is 8 to 15 mg/kg divided into two or three equal doses given every 8 to 12 hours.

Mechanism of action

Proglycem reduces blood glucose levels by inhibiting the release of insulin from the pancreas. Proglycem is also believed to have effects outside the pancreas, such as inhibiting the release of IGF-II from extrapancreatic tumors.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Proglycem is more than 90% bound to plasma proteins. It may compete with and displace other drugs which are highly protein bound, such as warfarin. The half-life is approximately 30 hours after oral administration. This is expected to be prolonged in people with renal impairment.

Contraindications

Proglycem should not be used to treat functional hypoglycemia. It also shouldn’t be used in anyone with a known sensitivity to diazoxide or other thiazides.

Storage

Store Proglycem suspension at room temperature (77ºF/25ºC). Excursions of 59ºF to 86ºF (15ºC to 30ºC) are permitted. Protect from light.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today 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.