- 10 Common Allergy Triggers Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Quiz on Allergies
- Nasal Allergy Relief Products Slideshow
- What is epinephrine auto-injector, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for epinephrine auto-injector?
- Is epinephrine auto-injector available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for epinephrine auto-injector?
- What are the uses for epinephrine auto-injector?
- What are the side effects of epinephrine auto-injector?
- What is the dosage for epinephrine auto-injector?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with epinephrine auto-injector?
- Is epinephrine auto-injector safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about epinephrine auto-injector?
What is epinephrine auto-injector, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- EpiPen is an auto-injectable epinephrine-containing device used for self-administration during life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Epinephrine, the medicine contained in EpiPen, is an excitatory chemical naturally made by our bodies. Epinephrine stimulates alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors found throughout the body. When injected during an allergic reaction, epinephrine works in multiple ways to treat the many signs of anaphylaxis. It causes blood vessels to constrict or tighten which helps to increase blood pressure and decrease swelling. Epinephrine also stimulates the heart muscle, causing the heart to beat faster and pump more blood to the vital organs. Epinephrine helps patients breathe better by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and allowing the airways to open up. Additionally, it also helps to prevent further release of inflammatory chemicals that were triggered by the initial allergic reaction.
- The FDA approved EpiPen in December 1987.
What are the uses for epinephrine auto-injector?
Epinephrine autoinjectors are used for emergency treatment of allergic reactions, including
- anaphylactic reactions caused by inset stings or bites,
- allergen immunotherapy,
- chemicals used for diagnostic testing substances such as radiocontrast media, and
- other allergens.
EpiPen is used for emergency use only and are should not replace proper medical care.
What are the side effects of epinephrine auto-injector?
Common side effects of EpiPen include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin (pallor)
Possible serious side effects of EpiPen include:
What is the dosage for epinephrine auto-injector?
- The recommended dose is the contents of 1 autoinjector (0.3 mg or 0.15 mg) injected under the skin or into the muscle of the thigh.
- The dose may be repeated after 5-15 minutes if symptoms persist.
- Patients that weigh 30 kg or more (approximately 66 pounds or more) should receive 0.3 mg (EpiPen) and patients that weigh 15 to 30 kg (33 pounds to 66 pounds) should receive 0.15 mg (EpiPen Jr).
- EpiPen may be injected through clothing if necessary.
Which drugs or supplements interact with epinephrine auto-injector?
- Administration of epinephrine to patients taking cardiac glycosides, diuretics (water pills), or drugs for treating irregular heartbeats (anti-arrhythmics) can cause the development of irregular heartbeats.
- The effects of epinephrine may be enhanced by medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl), and certain antihistamines.
- The treatment benefits of epinephrine can be reduced by beta-adrenergic blocking medicines such as propranolol (Inderal) and alpha-adrenergic blocking medicines such as phentolamine (Regitine, OraVerse).
- Some anti-migraine medications may also interfere with the benefits of epinephrine treatment.
Is epinephrine auto-injector safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Use of epinephrine has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Use of epinephrine in animal studies was associated with birth defects. Epinephrine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
- It is not known if epinephrine is excreted in breast milk. Since many drugs are excreted in human milk and have the potential of causing harm to the nursing infant, caution should be used when epinephrine is administered to a nursing mother.
What else should I know about epinephrine auto-injector?
What preparations of epinephrine auto-injector are available?
Autoinjector: 0.15 mg/0.3 ml, 0.3 mg/0.3 ml
How should I keep epinephrine auto-injector stored?
- EpiPen should be stored at room temperature, between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).
- It shouldn't be refrigerated.
- Epinephrine is light sensitive and should be stored in the carrier tube provided to protect it from light.
Quick GuideBad Bugs: Identify Bug Bites From Mosquitos, Spiders and More
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Trauma and First Aid Quiz: Training and Supplies
What should be in your first-aid kit? Take this quiz to understand trauma and learn the truth about how to administer first aid....
Zika Fever Quiz: Get Facts On Zika Infection
What do you need to know about Zika? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention methods for this...
Picture of West Nile Virus
The mosquito-borne virus that causes West Nile fever. One of the flaviviruses, a family of viruses also responsible for dengue,...
Summer Skin-Hazard Pictures: Stings, Bites, Burns, and More
Don't let spider bites, sunburn, poison ivy, chigger bites, and jellyfish stings sabotage your healthy skin. Learn how you can...
Spider Bites: Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse First Aid
Learn how to identify black widow and brown recluse spiders. There are many symptoms associated with a black widow or brown...
The Most Common Food Allergies for Kids and Adults
What common food allergens cause the most problems for adults and children? See this list of common food allergies and learn to...
West Nile Virus Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Watch this slideshow on West Nile Virus (encephalitis). Spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, learn about causes,...
Managing Severe Allergies at School
Learn how to manage and be prepared for severe allergies at school. Discover how to protect you child from food allergies, insect...
Zika Virus Symptoms, Pregnancy, Treatments, Vaccine
A quick guide to the Zika virus, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Find out how Zika is transmitted by mosquitoes,...
Related Disease Conditions
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can...
Insect Sting Allergies
The majority of stinging insects in the United States are from bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. Severity of...
Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary...
Hives (Urticaria & Angioedema)
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin that is usually a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergy may be...
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. ...
Lung Anatomy (Structure and Function)
The lungs are primarily responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and the blood....
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs...
Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics...
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time, and can be fatal....
About 1% to 2% of people in the U.S. have a peanut allergy. Symptoms and signs of a peanut allergy include rash, hives, redness,...
First aid is a complicated subject and it is situation-specific. First aid is defined as the help and medical assistance someone...
Bedbugs (from the insect family Cimicidae) are small, reddish-brown tick-like insects that feed by sucking the blood of mammals....
Spider Bites (Common, Black Widow, and Brown Recluse)
Most spiders in the United States are harmless; however, black widow and brown recluse spider bites may need medical treatment....
Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock,...
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of...
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever,...
Bee and Wasp Sting
Bees, wasps, and fire ants are related insects that belong to the Hymenoptera order. There are thousands of species of wasps...
Are Hives (Urticaria) Contagious?
Hives are not contagious are triggered by an allergic response to a substance. Symptoms and signs of hives include a raised,...
Are Bedbugs Contagious?
Bedbugs are brown wingless insects that feed on human blood. The are typically found around a person's sleeping area. Bedbugs...
Zika Virus (Zika Fever)
The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Symptoms and signs of a Zika virus infection include...
Flea Bites (In Humans)
Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea,...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Dining Out With Allergies Is Tough, But These Steps Can Help
- Can EpiPens Still Work After Freezing?
- FDA Extends EpiPen Expiration Dates to Tackle Shortage
- FDA Approves 1st Generic EpiPen
- Health Tip: Caring for Your Epi-Pen
- Many With Severe Allergies Don't Carry an EpiPen: Study
- Affected by the EpiPen Shortage? Here's What to Do
- EpiPen Out-of-Pocket Costs More Than Doubled Over Decade
- Global EpiPen Recall Now Includes U.S.
- Defect Prompts Mylan to Recall Some Epipens
- CVS Cuts Price of Generic Competitor to EpiPen
- The True Cost of EpiPen Coupons
- EpiPen Price Hikes: What to Know
- Parents Often Ill-Informed About Food-Allergy Emergencies
- Drugmaker Recalls Injectors Used to Treat Allergic Reactions
- Vaccines Rarely Cause Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions: CDC
- Schools With EpiPens Save Lives, Study Says
- More Schools Stocking Shots That Counter Serious Allergic Reactions
- Stay Out of Stinging Insects' Way This Summer
- Stocking Epinephrine in Schools Might Save Lives
- Kids With Food Allergies May Need 2 EpiPens
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.