Adverse Reactions Associated with Intramuscular/Subcutaneous Use (for Anaphylaxis)
Common adverse reactions to systemically administered epinephrine include anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, pallor, nausea and vomiting, headache, and respiratory difficulties. These symptoms occur in some persons receiving therapeutic doses of epinephrine, but are more likely to occur in patients with heart disease, hypertension, or hyperthyroidism [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Due to the 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 by body system:
Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have occurred, particularly in patients with underlying organic heart disease or patients receiving drugs that sensitize the heart to arrhythmias [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Respiratory: respiratory difficulties.
Neurological: dizziness , disorientation , excitability , headache , impaired memory , lightheadedness , nervousness , panic, psychomotor agitation, sleepiness , tingling , tremor, and weakness.
Psychiatric: anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness.
Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting.
Diabetic patients may experience transient increases in blood sugar [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Accidental injection into the digits, hands or feet may result in loss of blood flow to the affected area [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Adverse events experienced as a result of an injection into these areas include increased heart rate, local reactions including injection site pallor, coldness, hypoesthesia, and tissue loss, or injury at the injection site resulting in bruising, bleeding, discoloration, erythema, and skeletal injury.
Injection into the buttock has resulted in cases of gas gangrene [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Adverse Reactions Associated with Intraocular Use (for Mydriasis)
Epinephrine containing sodium bisulfite has been associated with corneal endothelial damage when used in the eye at undiluted concentrations (1 mg/mL).
Read the Adrenalin (epinephrine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »
Epinephrine should be administered cautiously to patients taking other sympathomimetic agents because of the possibility of additive effects.
Patients who are concomitantly receiving cardiac glycosides, digitalis, diuretics, quinidine, and other antiarrhythmics should be observed carefully for the development of cardiac arrhythmias [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Administer epinephrine cautiously to patients receiving halogenated hydrocarbon general anesthetics, such as halothane, as coadministration may result in arrhythmias.
The effects of epinephrine may be potentiated by tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), levothyroxine sodium, and certain antihistamines, notably diphenhydramine, tripelannamine, and dexchlorpheniramine.
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 reverse the pressor effects of epinephrine.
Epinephrine should not be used to counteract circulatory collapse or hypotension caused by phenothiazines, as a reversal of the pressor effects of epinephrine may result in further lowering of blood pressure.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/27/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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