• Produced by alpha islet cells in pancreas. Multiple organ system effects.
  • Metabolic:
    • Gluconeogenesis, ketogenesis, glycogenolysis
    • Pharmacological amounts cause release of insulin from normal pancreatic beta cells
  • Cardiac:
    • Positive inotropic and chronotropic effect
    • Produces effect similiar to beta-receptor agonists without requiring functioning beta-receptors
  • Smooth muscle:
    • Relaxation in large doses
  • Extensively degraded in liver, kidneys, plasma
  • Half-life 3-6 minutes (similiar to insulin)
Clinical uses
  • Severe hypoglycaemia
    • IV, IM or SC administration
    • 1mg vials
  • Diagnosis of endocrine disorders
  • Previously first-line in beta-blocker overdose
    • Ability to increase cAMP production in heart independent of beta-receptor function
  • Radiology of bowel
Adverse effects
  • Transient nausea/vomiting
  • Pheochromocytoma
Further reading

Pharmacology 101

Top 200 drugs

MBBS (UWA) CCPU (RCE, Biliary, DVT, E-FAST, AAA) Adult/Paediatric Emergency Medicine Advanced Trainee in Melbourne, Australia. Special interests in diagnostic and procedural ultrasound, medical education, and ECG interpretation. Editor-in-chief of the LITFL ECG Library. Twitter: @rob_buttner

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.