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epinephrine injection

Pronunciation: EP i NEF rin

Brand: Adrenalin, Auvi-Q, EpiPen Auto-Injector, EpiPen JR 2-Pak, EPIsnap

What is the most important information I should know about epinephrine injection?

Seek emergency medical attention after any use of epinephrine to treat a severe allergic reaction. After the injection you will need to receive further treatment and observation.

What is epinephrine injection?

Epinephrine is a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. These effects can reverse severe low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives, and other symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Epinephrine injection is used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens. Epinephrine is also used to treat exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

Epinephrine auto-injectors may be kept on hand for self-injection by a person with a history of an severe allergic reaction. This medicine is for use in adults and children who weigh at least 16.5 pounds (7.5 kilograms).

Epinephrine injection may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using epinephrine injection?

Before using epinephrine, tell your doctor if any past use of this medicine caused an allergic reaction to get worse.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • asthma;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • depression or mental illness;
  • a thyroid disorder; or
  • diabetes.

Having an allergic reaction while pregnant or nursing could harm both mother and baby. You may need to use epinephrine during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding. Seek emergency medical attention right away after using the injection.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received this medicine.

How should I use epinephrine injection?

The auto-injector device is a disposable single-use system. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

Epinephrine is injected into the skin or muscle of your outer thigh. In an emergency, this injection can be given through your clothing.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

Do not remove the safety cap until you are ready to use the auto-injector. Never put your fingers over the injector tip after the safety cap has been removed.

To use an epinephrine auto-injector:

  • Form a fist around the auto-injector with the tip pointing down. Pull off the safety cap.
  • Place the tip against the fleshy portion of the outer thigh. You may give the injection directly through clothing. Hold the leg firmly when giving this injection to a child or infant.
  • Push the auto-injector firmly against the thigh to release the needle that injects the dose of epinephrine. Hold the auto-injector in place for 10 seconds after activation.
  • Remove the auto-injector from the thigh and massage the area gently. Carefully re-insert the used device needle-first into the carrying tube. Re-cap the tube and take it with you to the emergency room so that anyone who treats you will know how much epinephrine you have received.
  • Use an auto-injector only one time. Do not try to reinsert an auto-injector a second time if the needle has come out of your skin before the full 10 seconds. If the needle is bent from the first use, it may cause serious injury to your skin.

Seek emergency medical attention after any use of epinephrine. The effects of epinephrine may wear off after 10 or 20 minutes. You will need to receive further treatment and observation.

Do not use epinephrine injection if it has changed colors or has particles in it, or if the expiration date on the label has passed. Call your pharmacist for a new prescription.

Your medicine may also come with a "trainer pen." The trainer pen contains no medicine and no needle. It is only for non-emergency use to practice giving yourself an epinephrine injection.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not refrigerate or freeze this medication, and do not store it in a car.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since epinephrine is used when needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of an epinephrine overdose may include numbness or weakness, severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, sweating, chills, chest pain, fast or slow heartbeats, severe shortness of breath, or cough with foamy mucus.

What should I avoid while using epinephrine injection?

Do not inject epinephrine into a vein or into the muscles of your buttocks, or it may not work as well. Inject it only into the fleshy outer portion of the thigh.

Accidentally injecting epinephrine into your hands or feet may result in a loss of blood flow to those areas, and resulting numbness.

What are the possible side effects of epinephrine injection?

Before using epinephrine, tell your doctor if any past use of this medicine caused an allergic reaction to get worse.

Call your doctor at once if you notice pain, swelling, warmth, redness, or other signs of infection around the area where you gave an injection.

Common side effects may include:

  • breathing problems;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • pale skin, sweating;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • dizziness;
  • weakness or tremors;
  • throbbing headache; or
  • feeling nervous, anxious, or fearful.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect epinephrine injection?

Other drugs may affect epinephrine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about epinephrine injection.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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