Epinephrine (adrenaline), a self-injectable medication, is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. Epinephrine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and highly effective medication that can reverse severe symptoms. However, it must be administered promptly during anaphylaxis to be most effective. Delayed use of epinephrine during an anaphylactic reaction has been associated with deaths.
If you have been prescribed epinephrine, FARE recommends that you carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times to make sure you have quick access to this life-saving medication.
Epinephrine Options & Training
Different epinephrine auto-injectors operate differently, so it is important to discuss your options with your doctor and be properly trained to use your device. Below is a list of the four devices currently on the market, with links to important information about each product and training videos on how to use them. Each option below has been approved by the FDA as safe and effective for patients at risk of anaphylaxis.
Detailed information about Auvi-Q® is available at www.auvi-q.com.
Training video for Auvi-Q®
Detailed information about EpiPen® and EpiPenJr.® is available at www.epipen.com.
Training Video for EpiPen®
Generic Epinephrine Auto-Injector (Authorized Generic of EpiPen®)
Detailed information about the authorized generic for EpiPen® is available at www.my-generic-epinephrine-auto-injector.com/en
Training Video for Generic Epinephrine Auto-Injector (Authorized Generic of EpiPen®)
Impax Epinephrine Auto-Injector (Authorized Generic of Adrenaclick®)
Detailed information about the authorized generic for Adrenaclick® is available at www.epinephrineautoinject.com.
Training Video for Impax Epinephrine Auto-Injector (Authorized Generic of Adrenaclick®)
Tips for Getting the Auto-Injector You Want
Whether you have been managing food allergies for many years or just received a diagnosis, you may have a preference about which epinephrine auto-injector to purchase. It is important to make this decision in partnership with your doctor. Below are some tips for getting the auto-injector you want.
- Talk with your doctor about which product is best for you.
- Make sure you are trained on your chosen device before leaving your doctor’s office.
- Ask your doctor to write your prescription specifically for the brand name or generic product you want.
- Talk to your pharmacist about the epinephrine auto-injector you want when dropping off your prescription.
- Before you purchase an epinephrine auto-injector, ask about its expiration date. If you are dissatisfied with the expiration date, you can ask the pharmacist for a newer auto-injector with a longer useful life.
- Before leaving the pharmacy, double-check the product you were given to make sure it is what you wanted and what your doctor prescribed.
Using an Auto-injector
Ask your doctor for training on how to use the auto-injector prescribed for you. In addition, the manufacturer’s website provides detailed information, including instructions for using your device. It’s important to become familiar with these instructions. Practice using the auto-injector until the process becomes second nature. Teach others how to use it as well.
An injection of epinephrine should be given in the outer thigh. Injecting the medication intravenously or into the buttock is not recommended. Auto-injectors can usually be used through clothing. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.
Once the medication is injected, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding how long to hold the device in place to ensure all of the medication has been delivered.
Once epinephrine is administered, you should call 911 immediately and advise dispatchers that you have just used epinephrine for a suspected food-induced anaphylactic reaction. Make arrangements to be transported to an emergency room for additional treatment and for observation.
Carrying and Storing Epinephrine
Epinephrine is sensitive to light and should be stored at room temperature. Do not refrigerate epinephrine, and take precautions to prevent the device from freezing. Epinephrine should never be stored in a vehicle, where temperatures can climb to triple digits, causing the medication to become less effective.
Periodically check the epinephrine solution for discoloration. If the solution becomes slightly pinkish in color, or darker than slightly yellow, the medication may be less effective; call your doctor for a replacement device.