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Does Auvi-Q (epinephrine) cause side effects?
Auvi-Q is an auto-injector that talks the user step by step through the injection process. Epinephrine, the medicine contained in Auvi-Q, 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.
Common side effects of Auvi-Q include
- fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat,
- vomiting, and
- breathing problems.
Serious side effects of Auvi-Q include
- arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation.
Drug interactions of Auvi-Q include cardiac glycosides, diuretics (water pills), or drugs for treating irregular heartbeats (antiarrhythmics), because coadministration can cause the development of irregular heartbeats.
- The effects of Auvi-Q may be enhanced by medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, levothyroxine, and certain antihistamines.
- The treatment benefits of Auvi-Q can be reduced by beta-adrenergic blocking medicines such as propranolol and alpha-adrenergic blocking medicines such as phentolamine. Some anti-migraine medications may also interfere with the benefits of Auvi-Q treatment.
It is unknown if Auvi-Q is excreted in breast milk. Since many drugs are excreted in breast milk and have the potential of causing harm to the nursing infant, caution should be used when Auvi-Q is administered to a breastfeeding mother.
What are the important side effects of Auvi-Q (epinephrine)?
The most common side effects of Auvi-Q include:
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat;
- vomiting; and
- breathing problems.
Auvi-Q is intended for administration in the muscle or fat tissues in the outer thigh only. Injecting Auvi-Q in other areas of the body including the buttocks, hands, or feet may not provide effective treatment of anaphylaxis and may even cause side effects.
Auvi-Q (epinephrine) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Due to lack of randomized, controlled clinical trials of epinephrine for the treatment of anaphylaxis, the true incidence of adverse reactions associated with the systemic use of epinephrine is difficult to determine. Adverse reactions reported in observational trials, case reports, and studies are listed below.
Common adverse reactions to systemically administered epinephrine include
- nausea and vomiting;
- headache; and/or
- respiratory difficulties.
- Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have been reported, particularly in patients with underlying cardiac disease or those receiving certain drugs.
- Rapid rises in blood pressure have produced cerebral hemorrhage, particularly in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease.
- Angina may occur in patients with coronary artery disease.
- Rare cases of stress cardiomyopathy have been reported in patients treated with epinephrine.
- Accidental injection into the digits, hands or feet may result in loss of blood flow to the affected area.
- Adverse events experienced as a result of accidental injections may include increased heart rate, local reactions including injection site pallor, coldness and hypoesthesia or injury at the injection site resulting in bruising, bleeding, discoloration, erythema or skeletal injury.
- Injection of epinephrine into the buttock has resulted in cases of gas gangrene.
- Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections, including necrotizing fasciitis and myonecrosis caused by Clostridia (gas gangrene), have been reported at the injection site following epinephrine injection in the thigh.
What drugs interact with Auvi-Q (epinephrine)?
- Patients who receive epinephrine while concomitantly taking cardiac glycosides, diuretics, or anti-arrhythmics should be observed carefully for the development of cardiac arrhythmias.
- The effects of epinephrine may be potentiated by tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, levothyroxine sodium, and certain antihistamines, notably chlorpheniramine, tripelennamine, and diphenhydramine.
- The cardiostimulating and bronchodilating effects of epinephrine are antagonized by beta-adrenergic blocking drugs, such as propranolol.
- The vasoconstricting and hypertensive effects of epinephrine are antagonized by alpha-adrenergic blocking drugs, such as phentolamine.
- Ergot alkaloids may also reverse the pressor effects of epinephrine.
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Related Disease Conditions
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
What Are the Four Types of Allergic Reactions?
Allergists recognize four types of allergic reactions: Type I or anaphylactic reactions, type II or cytotoxic reactions, type III or immunocomplex reactions and type IV or cell-mediated reactions.
How Long Does an Allergic Reaction Last?
Allergic reactions may last for varying lengths of time. They may take a few hours to a few days to disappear. If the exposure to the allergen continues, such as during a spring pollen season, allergic reactions may last for longer periods such as a few weeks to months.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time, and can be fatal. Causes of anaphylaxis can be food allergy, latex allergy, allergy to insect or but stings/bites, asthma, or other materials or conditions. Symptoms include flushing, itching, hives, anxiety, rapid or irregular pulse. Severe symptoms may be throat and tongue swelling, swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Some disorders appear similar to anaphylaxis such as fainting, panic attacks, blood clots in the lungs, heart attacks, and septic shock. If you think that you may be having an anaphylactic reaction, seek emergency care or call 911 immediately.
Peanut allergies causes signs and symptoms that include hives, itching, redness, and a rash. Severe reactions may cause decreased blood pressure, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral changes. Someone with a peanut allergy should have an EpiPen with them at all times.
What Is Allergic Cascade?
The allergic cascade refers to allergic reactions that happen in the body in response to allergens. A variety of immune cells and chemical messengers participate in the allergic cascade. Symptoms of the allergic cascade range from mild swelling and itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock. Allergen avoidance and medications are used to prevent or treat allergies.
Allergy Treatment Begins at Home
Avoiding allergy triggers at home is one of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation are a few ways to allergy-proof the home. Cleaning, vacuuming, and using HEPA air filters also helps control allergies.
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin or eyes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, and anxiety. The most common drugs that people are allergic to include penicillins and penicillin type drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine. Treatment may involve antihistamines or corticosteroids. An EpiPen may be used for life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis?
What is allergic conjunctivitis, and how do you recognize it? Learn the signs of allergic conjunctivitis and how to treat it.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
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.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.