Recently somatostatin analogues were successfully used to control insulin-induced hypoglycemia in patients with insulinoma. We observed a transient decrease in glucose levels and symptomatic hypoglycemia after administration of the long-acting somatostatin analogue octreotide (Sandostatin®) in two insulinoma patients. We studied the acute effects of octreotide (administered before breakfast) on blood glucose and glucoregulatory hormones in these patients. In one patient, we studied the effects of glucagon replacement and changing the time of breakfast (relative to octreotide administration) on octreotide-associated changes in blood glucose and glucoregulatory hormones. Compared with control levels, octreotide therapy reduced insulin levels. During hypoglycemia glucagon and growth hormone levels were suppressed, but cortisol levels appropriately increased. The increase in catecholamine levels was normal in one patient, but markedly attenuated in the other. A transient decrease in serum glucose after octreotide was absent after glucagon replacement, but present when breakfast was taken before administration of octreotide. We conclude that in patients with insulinoma, octreotide therapy may be associated with clinically important hypoglycemia, during which counterregulatory hormone secretion may be attenuated.