July 27, 2016
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Epipen

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Epipen




Warnings
Precautions

WARNINGS

Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.

PRECAUTIONS

Emergency Treatment

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are intended for immediate administration as emergency supportive therapy and are not intended as a substitute for immediate medical care. In conjunction with the administration of epinephrine, the patient should seek immediate medical or hospital care. More than two sequential doses of epinephrine should only be administered under direct medical supervision [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and PATIENT INFORMATION].

Injection-Related Complications

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr should only be injected into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and PATIENT INFORMATION].

  • Do not inject intravenously. Large doses or accidental intravenous injection of epinephrine may result in cerebral hemorrhage due to sharp rise in blood pressure. Rapidly acting vasodilators can counteract the marked pressor effects of epinephrine if there is such inadvertent administration.
  • Do not inject into buttock. Injection into the buttock may not provide effective treatment of anaphylaxis. Advise the patient to go immediately to the nearest emergency room for further treatment of anaphylaxis. Additionally, injection into the buttock has been associated with Clostridial infections (gas gangrene). Cleansing with alcohol does not kill bacterial spores, and therefore, does not lower this risk.
  • Do not inject into digits, hands or feet. Since epinephrine is a strong vasoconstrictor, accidental injection into the digits, hands or feet may result in loss of blood flow to the affected area. Advise the patient to go immediately to the nearest emergency room and to inform the healthcare provider in the emergency room of the location of the accidental injection. Treatment of such inadvertent administration should consist of vasodilation, in addition to further appropriate treatment of anaphylaxis [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
  • Hold leg firmly during injection. Lacerations, bent needles, and embedded needles have been reported when EpiPen and EpiPen Jr have been injected into the thigh of young children who are uncooperative and kick or move during an injection. To minimize the risk of injection related injury when administering EpiPen to young children, instruct caregivers to hold the child's leg firmly in place and limit movement prior to and during injection.

Serious Infections At The Injection Site

Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections, including necrotizing fasciitis and myonecrosis caused by Clostridia (gas gangrene), have been reported at the injection site following epinephrine injection for anaphylaxis. Clostridium spores can be present on the skin and introduced into the deep tissue with subcutaneous or intramuscular injection. While cleansing with alcohol may reduce presence of bacteria on the skin, alcohol cleansing does not kill Clostridium spores. To decrease the risk of Clostridium infection, do not inject EpiPen into the buttock [see Injection-Related Complications]. Advise patients to seek medical care if they develop signs or symptoms of infection, such as persistent redness, warmth, swelling, or tenderness, at the epinephrine injection site.

Allergic Reactions Associated With Sulfite

The presence of a sulfite in this product should not deter administration of the drug for treatment of serious allergic or other emergency situations even if the patient is sulfite-sensitive.

Epinephrine is the preferred treatment for serious allergic reactions or other emergency situations even though this product contains sodium m et a bisulfite, a sulfite that may, in other products, cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms or life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible persons.

The alternatives to using epinephrine in a life-threatening situation may not be satisfactory.

Disease Interactions

Some patients may be at greater risk for developing adverse reactions after epinephrine administration. Despite these concerns, it should be recognized that the presence of these conditions is not a contraindication to epinephrine administration in an acute, life-threatening situation. Therefore, patients with these conditions, and/or any other person who might be in a position to administer EpiPen or EpiPen Jr to a patient experiencing anaphylaxis should be carefully instructed in regard to the circumstances under which epinephrine should be used.

Patients with Heart Disease

Epinephrine should be administered with caution to patients who have heart disease, including patients with cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery or organic heart disease, or hypertension. In such patients, or in patients who are on drugs that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, epinephrine may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris as well as produce ventricular arrhythmias [see DRUG INTERACTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Other Patients and Diseases

Epinephrine should be administered with caution to patients with hyperthyroidism, diabetes, elderly individuals, and pregnant women. Patients with Parkinson's disease may notice a temporary worsening of symptoms.

Patient Counseling Information

[See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling (Patient Information and Instructions for Use).] A healthcare provider should review the patient instructions and operation of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr in detail, with the patient or caregiver.

Epinephrine is essential for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Patients who are at risk of or with a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens, as well as idiopathic and exercise-induced anaphylaxis, should be carefully instructed about the circumstances under which epinephrine should be used.

Administration And Training

Instruct patients and/or caregivers in the appropriate use of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. EpiPen should be injected into the middle of the outer thigh (through clothing, if necessary). Each device is a single-use injection. Advise patients to seek immediate medical care in conjunction with administration of EpiPen.

Instruct caregivers to hold the leg of young children firmly in place and limit movement prior to and during injection. Lacerations, bent needles, and embedded needles have been reported when EpiPen and EpiPen Jr have been injected into the thigh of young children who are uncooperative and kick or move during an injection [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Complete patient information, including dosage, directions for proper administration and precautions can be found inside each EpiPen or EpiPen Jr carton. A printed label on the surface of EpiPen shows instructions for use and a diagram depicting the injection process.

Instruct patients and/or caregivers to use and practice with the Trainer to familiarize themselves with the use of EpiPen in an allergic emergency. The Trainer may be used multiple times. A Trainer device is provided in 2-Pak cartons.

Adverse Reactions

Epinephrine may produce symptoms and signs that include an increase in heart rate, the sensation of a more forceful heartbeat, palpitations, sweating, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, pallor, dizziness, weakness or shakiness, headache, apprehension, nervousness, or anxiety. These signs and symptoms usually subside rapidly, especially with rest, quiet and recumbency. Patients with hypertension or hyperthyroidism may develop more severe or persistent effects, and patients with coronary artery disease could experience angina. Patients with diabetes may develop increased blood glucose levels following epinephrine administration. Patients with Parkinson's disease may notice a temporary worsening of symptoms [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Accidental Injection

Advise patients to seek immediate medical care in the case of accidental injection. Since epinephrine is a strong vasoconstrictor when injected into the digits, hands, or feet, treatment should be directed at vasodilatation if there is such an accidental injection to these areas [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Serious Infections At The Injection Site

Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections, including necrotizing fasciitis and myonecrosis caused by Clostridia (gas gangrene), have been reported at the injection site following epinephrine injection for anaphylaxis. Advise patients to seek medical care if they develop signs or symptoms of infection, such as persistent redness, warmth, swelling, or tenderness, at the epinephrine injection site [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Storage And Handling

Instruct patients to inspect the epinephrine solution visually through the clear window of the auto-injector periodically. Replace EpiPen and EpiPen Jr if the epinephrine solution appears discolored (pinkish or brown color), cloudy, or contains particles. Epinephrine is light sensitive and should be stored in the carrier tube provided to protect it from light. The carrier tube is not waterproof. Instruct patients that EpiPen and EpiPen Jr must be used or properly disposed once the blue safety release is removed or after use [see Storage and Handling].

Complete patient information, including dosage, directions for proper administration and precautions can be found inside each EpiPen Auto-Injector carton.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Long-term studies to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of epinephrine have not been conducted.

Epinephrine and other catecholamines have been shown to have mutagenic potential in vitro and to be an oxidative mutagen in a WP2 bacterial reverse mutation assay.

Epinephrine was positive in the DNA Repair test with B. subtilis (REC) assay, but was not mutagenic in the Salmonella bacterial reverse mutation assay.

The potential for epinephrine to impair fertility has not been evaluated.

This should not prevent the use of epinephrine under the conditions noted under Indications and Usage (1).

Use In Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects

Pregnancy Category C.

There are no adequate and well controlled studies of the acute effect of epinephrine in pregnant women.

Epinephrine was teratogenic in rabbits, mice and hamsters. Epinephrine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus (fetal anoxia, spontaneous abortion, or both).

Epinephrine has been shown to have teratogenic effects when administered subcutaneously in rabbits at approximately 30 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose (on a mg/m² basis at a maternal dose of 1.2 mg/kg/day for two to three days), in mice at approximately 7 times the maximum daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose (on a mg/m² basis at a maternal subcutaneous dose of 1 mg/kg/day for 10 days), and in hamsters at approximately 5 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose (on a mg/m² basis at a maternal subcutaneous dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day for 4 days).

These effects were not seen in mice at approximately 3 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose (on a mg/m² basis at a subcutaneous maternal dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day for 10 days).

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether epinephrine is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when EpiPen is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

EpiPen or EpiPen Jr may be administered to pediatric patients at a dosage appropriate to body weight [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Clinical experience with the use of epinephrine suggests that the adverse reactions seen in children are similar in nature and extent to those both expected and reported in adults. Since the doses of epinephrine delivered from EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are fixed, consider using other forms of injectable epinephrine if doses lower than 0.15 mg are deemed necessary.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies for the treatment of anaphylaxis have not been performed in subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. However, other reported clinical experience with use of epinephrine for the treatment of anaphylaxis has identified that geriatric patients may be particularly sensitive to the effects of epinephrine. Therefore, EpiPen should be administered with caution in elderly individuals, who may be at greater risk for developing adverse reactions after epinephrine administration [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, OVERDOSAGE].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/7/2016

Warnings
Precautions

Epipen - User Reviews

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