EPINEPHRINE AUTO-INJECTOR: Patient Information
When to use the auto-injector epinephrine?
This medication is used in emergencies to treat very serious allergic reactions to insect stings/bites, foods, or drugs. Epinephrine acts quickly to improve breathing, stimulate the heart, raise a dropping blood pressure, and reduce swelling of the face, lips, and throat.
How do use the auto-injector?
Keep this product near you at all times. Talk with your doctor about when you should use this product. This medication is given by injection. Learn how to properly inject this medication in advance so you will be prepared when you actually need to use it. Also teach a family member or caregiver what to do if you cannot inject the medication yourself.
To avoid injecting into a vein, always inject this medication into the front outer thigh. Do not inject into the buttocks. The effects of this medication are rapid but not long-lasting. After injecting epinephrine, seek immediate medical attention.
What are the possible side effects of epinephrine?
A fast/pounding heartbeat, nervousness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, headache, dizziness, shakiness, or pale skin may occur. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, fainting, vision changes, seizures, or confusion.
How to store the auto-injector?
Store this product in the carrying case packaging at room temperature between 20-25 degrees C away from light and moisture. Avoid extreme heat and cold. Do not store this medication in your vehicle or in the bathroom. Do not refrigerate or freeze. From time to time, check the expiration date, and also check this product visually for particles or discoloration.
When to use an epinephrine auto-injector?
A person who is having an allergic reaction should use their epinephrine auto-injector immediately if they: are having trouble breathing, feel tightness in the throat, or feel lightheaded or think they might pass out.
If treating a child with an allergic reaction, use the auto-injector in the following situation:
- Is not responding, seems groggy, or passes out during an allergic reaction
- Has food allergies and is vomiting repeatedly shortly after eating, especially if these symptoms are accompanied by flushing or hives
- Is coughing repeatedly during an allergic reaction
- Had previous anaphylaxis and develops widespread hives after possibly eating a trigger food
Steps below show how EpiPen Auto-Injector is used:
Adapted from http://www.alk-lifeline.co.uk/pages/home.aspx
- Grasp EpiPen® in dominant hand, with thumb closest to grey safety cap
- Pull off grey safety cap (Fig. 1)
- Jab black end of the EpiPen® firmly into outer thigh, through clothing if necessary (Fig. 2)
- Hold in place for 10 seconds (Fig. 3)
- Remove EpiPen® from outer thigh
- Massage injection area for 10 seconds
- Ensure EpiPen® is disposed of safely as the needle will be exposed (Fig. 4)
- Each EpiPen® can only be used once
Click on the link below to view a clip showing how to administer the EpiPen
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