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Glucose parenteral isotonic


Intravenous infusions of glucose 5%.

Drugs List

  • glucose 5% infusion
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Carbohydrate depletion
    Diluent, vehicle or excipient
    Fluid replacement
    Hypoglycaemic coma


    The 5 % w/v solution is isotonic with plasma.


    The rate of administration and volume infused will depend upon the requirements of the individual patient and the judgement of the physician.


    The rate of administration and volume infused will depend upon the requirements of the individual patient and the judgement of the physician.


    For administration by intravenous infusion.

    Rapid infusion or very prolonged large volumes of intravenous glucose given too quickly may cause water intoxication. Infusion over a long period of time can cause dehydration.


    Diabetic hyperosmolar coma

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children under 18 years
    Impaired glucose tolerance
    Recent trauma
    Severe traumatic brain injury
    Diabetes mellitus
    Ischaemic cerebrovascular accident
    Renal impairment
    Thiamine deficiency

    Avoid rapid infusion rates
    Do not give blood products in same intravenous line
    May cause hyponatraemia
    Monitor acid-base balance
    Monitor blood or urinary glucose
    Monitor fluid and electrolyte status
    Consider hyponatraemia in all patients with drowsiness/confusion/seizures
    May cause anaphylactic / anaphylactoid reactions
    Monitor for signs of mental confusion or loss of consciousness
    Discontinue if hypersensitivity reactions occur
    Prolonged use in parenteral nutrition may affect insulin production

    The administration of glucose without adequate levels of thiamine may precipitate overt deficiency states e.g. Wernicke's encephalopathy.

    Hyponatraemia can develop into acute hyponatraemic encephalopathy characterised by headache, nausea, seizures, lethargy, coma, cerebral oedema and death. Children, elderly, women, postoperative patients, patients with hypoxia and patients with central nervous system disease or psychogenic polydipsia are at particular risk for this complication.

    Refeeding severely malnourished patients may result in the refeeding syndrome that is characterised by the shift of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium intracellularly as the patient becomes anabolic. Thiamine deficiency and fluid retention may also develop. Careful monitoring and slowly increasing nutrient intakes while avoiding over feeding can prevent these complications.

    Solutions containing glucose should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with known allergy to corn.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Use intravenous glucose with caution in pregnancy.

    Intrapartum maternal intravenous glucose infusion may result in foetal insulin production, with an associated risk of foetal hyperglycaemia and metabolic acidosis, as well as rebound hypoglycaemia in the neonate.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Intravenous glucose is considered safe for use in breastfeeding.

    Glucose and its metabolites are excreted in human breast milk, but no effects on the breastfed newborns/infants are anticipated at therapeutic doses.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Anaphylactoid reaction
    Fluid and electrolyte disturbances
    Heat and redness (injection site)
    Hypersensitivity reactions
    Hyponatraemic encephalopathy
    Irritation (injection site)
    Local infection at injection site
    Local pain (injection site)
    Osmotic diuresis
    Pulmonary congestion
    Venous thrombosis


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: September 2018

    Reference Sources

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Glucose Infusion 5%. Fresenius Kabi Ltd. Revised January 2017.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Glucose 5% w/v intravenous infusion. Baxter Healthcare Ltd. Revised November 2016.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 02 August 2018

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