An EpiPen is an auto-injector device designed to deliver a single dose of the drug epinephrine and is prescribed to treat life threatening allergic reactions called anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction to certain foods or medication, insect stings or latex. When a reaction occurs it can cause symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, throat tightness or closure, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening and can cause death if left untreated. The symptoms of anaphylaxis usually appear immediately after exposure to an allergen and require immediate treatment with epinephrine.
Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and is administered with the EpiPen Auto-Injector. EpiPen is indicated to treat emergency cases of anaphylaxis in people at risk for allergic reactions. It is used only as an emergency supportive therapy for immediate self-administration. You should always seek medical attention following a reaction and use of an epipen.
Epinephrine should be used with caution if you suffer from heart disease, thyroid disease, depression, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, if you are pregnant or plan to conceive, during or before breastfeeding, or while using medications for asthma. You should discuss any concerns you may have with your physician.
EpiPen comes in two doses one for children and one for adults. If you experience signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should immediately use the EpiPen to administer epinephrine.
To administer, you need to remove the safety cap. Pull it straight out without bending or twisting it. Place the tip of the pen on your mid-thigh (over your clothing or on your bare skin) and push hard until you hear or feel a click. Hold for 10 seconds and then remove the EpiPen. Without touching the needle, place the safety cap on and massage the injection site for 10 seconds.
EpiPen should be injected directly into your thigh and not into your hands, buttocks, feet or veins.
Every kit comes with a trainer pen, a device without the needle and medication, so you can practice to correctly use the EpiPen auto-injector.
Patients at risk for anaphylaxis are advised to carry two doses of epinephrine at all times as symptoms can persist or reappear after a couple of hours requiring a second injection.
Risks and complications.
The common complications of using an EpiPen include:
Increased, stronger or irregular heartbeat.
Nausea and vomiting.
Weakness or shakiness.
Nervousness or anxiety.
The EpiPen is a self-injectable device containing epinephrine. Epinephrine is the first-line emergency treatment for an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. It is important to always keep the prescribed dose of EpiPen easily accessible to avoid serious complications of anaphylaxis.