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- What is EpiPen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for EpiPen?
- What are the side effects of EpiPen?
- What is the dosage for EpiPen?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with EpiPen?
- Is EpiPen safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about EpiPen?
What is EpiPen, 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 brand names are available for EpiPen?
EpiPen, EpiPen Jr
Is EpiPen available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for EpiPen?
What are the uses for EpiPen?
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 EpiPen?
Common side effects of EpiPen include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin (pallor)
Possible serious side effects of EpiPen include:
What is the dosage for EpiPen?
- 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 EpiPen?
- 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.
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Is EpiPen 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 EpiPen?
What preparations of EpiPen are available?
Autoinjector: 0.15 mg/0.3 ml, 0.3 mg/0.3 ml
How should I keep EpiPen 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.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine injection, autoinjector) is a prescription drug used for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions. Side effects of EpiPen include pale skin, sweating, headache, dizziness, anxiety, nausea. Drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to using this drug.
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Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Signs and symptoms of flea bites in humans include itching, hives, a rash with bumps, red spots with a "halo," and swelling around the bite. Treatment for flea bites includes over-the-counter medicine and natural and home remedies to relieve and soothe itching and inflammation. The redness of a flea bite can last from a few hours to a several days.
Spider Bites (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. Symptoms of a harmless spider bite generally include pain, redness, and irritation. Signs and symptoms of black widow spider bite include pain immediately, redness, burning, and swelling at the site of the bite. Sometimes the person will feel a pinprick or double fang marks. Brown recluse spider bite symptoms and signs are a mild sting, followed by severe pain and local redness. These symptoms usually develop within eight hours or more after the bite. Black widow and brown recluse spider bites have similar symptoms, for example, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and abdominal or joint pain. Generally, brown recluse and black widow spider bites need immediate medical treatment. If you think that you or someone you know has been bitten by a brown recluse or black widow spider, go to your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department for medical treatment.
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 to food or medications, but usually the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown.
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Bee and Wasp Sting
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Insect Sting Allergies
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Bug Bites and Stings
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Zika Virus (Zika Fever)
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Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
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