Glucose Gel as a Treatment Strategy for Transient Neonatal Hypoglycemia

Katherine M. Newnam, Marissa Bunch, Sheila Gephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Transient asymptomatic neonatal hypoglycemia (TANH) is common as infants transition from their mother's energy stores to their own. There is little evidence supporting the blood glucose threshold that indicates a need for treatment although sustained hypoglycemia has been correlated with negative neurodevelopmental consequences. Treatment of TANH includes a stepwise approach from supplemental enteral feedings, buccal glucose gel, intravenous dextrose infusion, and/or transfer to special care units including neonatal intensive care units. Purpose: The purpose of this evidence-based practice brief is to review current evidence on 40% buccal glucose gel administration as a treatment strategy for TANH. Methods/Search Strategy: CINAHL, Cochrane, Google Scholar, and PubMed were searched using the key words and restricted to English language over the last 7 years. Findings/Results: The use of buccal dextrose gel for TANH may reduce neonatal intensive care unit admissions, reduce hospital length of stay and cost, support the mother-infant dyad through reduced separation, support exclusive breastfeeding, and improve parental satisfaction without adverse neurodevelopmental consequences. Implications for Practice: Timely collection of blood glucose levels following intervention is critical to support clinical decisions. Clinicians should offer family education regarding the rationale for serial glucose monitoring and treatment indications including buccal glucose administration. Clinical protocols can be revised to include use of buccal dextrose gel. Implications for Research: There is a need for rigorous long-term studies comparing treatment thresholds and neurodevelopmental outcomes among various treatment strategies for TANH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-477
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Neonatal Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • glucose gel
  • hypoglycemia
  • hypoglycemia of the newborn
  • neonatal hypoglycemia
  • neonatal hypoglycemia treatment
  • transient neonatal hypoglycemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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