"By Matt McMillen
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
April 9, 2015 -- Spring is finally here, and with it comes tree pollen. For people with allergies, that could spell misery. But despite the hars"...
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors should only be injected into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. 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.
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. Treatment should be directed at vasodilation in addition to further treatment of anaphylaxis (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). 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.
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.
Epinephrine is the preferred treatment for serious allergic reactions or other emergency situations even though this product contains sodium metabisulfite, 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. 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 should be administered with caution in 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, e.g., digitalis, diuretics, or anti-arrhythmics, epinephrine may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris as well as produce ventricular arrhythmias. It should be recognized that the presence of these conditions is not a contraindication to epinephrine administration in an acute, life-threatening situation.
Epinephrine is light sensitive and should be stored in the carrier tube provided. Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°C-30°C (59°F-86°F) (See USP Controlled Room Temperature). Do not refrigerate. Before using, check to make sure the solution in the auto-injector is not discolored. Replace the auto-injector if the solution is discolored or contains a precipitate.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors 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.
Epinephrine is essential for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Patients 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. It must be clearly determined that the patient is at risk of future anaphylaxis, since the following risks may be associated with epinephrine administration (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Epinephrine should be used with caution in patients who have cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery or organic heart disease, hypertension, or in patients who are on drugs that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, e.g., digitalis, diuretics, quinidine, or other antiarrhythmics. In such patients, epinephrine may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris as well as produce ventricular arrhythmias.
The effects of epinephrine may be potentiated by tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Some patients may be at greater risk of developing adverse reactions after epinephrine administration. These include: hyperthyroid individuals, individuals with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or diabetes, elderly individuals, pregnant women, pediatric patients under 30 kg (66 lbs.) body weight using EpiPen Auto-Injector, and pediatric patients under 15 kg (33 lbs.) body weight using EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector.
Despite these concerns, epinephrine is essential for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Therefore, patients with these conditions, and/or any other person who might be in a position to administer EpiPen or EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector to a patient experiencing anaphylaxis should be carefully instructed in regard to the circumstances under which epinephrine should be used.
Information for Patients
Complete PATIENT INFORMATION, including dosage, direction for proper administration and precautions can be found inside each EpiPen/EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector carton.
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 symptoms and signs 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.
In case of accidental injection, the patient should be advised to immediately go to the emergency room for treatment. Since the epinephrine in the EpiPen Auto-Injector is a strong vasoconstrictor when injected into the digits, hands or feet, treatment should be directed at vasodilation if there is such an inadvertent administration to these areas (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
The carrier tube is not waterproof.
The blue safety release helps prevent accidental injection and should be kept on until it will be used.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
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 had a moderate degree of mutagenicity, and was positive in the DNA Repair test with B. subtilis (REC) assay, but was not mutagenic in the Salmonella bacterial reverse mutation assay. Studies of epinephrine after repeated exposure in animals to evaluate the carcinogenic and mutagenic potential or the effect on fertility have not been conducted. This should not prevent the use of epinephrine under the conditions noted under INDICATIONS AND USAGE.
Usage in Pregnancy
Pregnancy Category C: There is no study on the acute effect of epinephrine on pregnancy. Epinephrine has been shown to have developmental effects when administered subcutaneously in rabbits at a dose of 1.2 mg/kg daily for two to three days (approximately 30 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose on a mg/m² basis), in mice at a subcutaneous dose of 1 mg/kg daily for 10 days (approximately 7 times the maximum daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose on a mg/m² basis) and in hamsters at a subcutaneous dose of 0.5 mg/kg daily for 4 days (approximately 5 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose on a mg/m² basis). These effects were not seen in mice at a subcutaneous dose of 0.5 mg/kg daily for 10 days (approximately 3 times the maximum recommended daily subcutaneous or intramuscular dose on a mg/m² basis). Although, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women, epinephrine should be used in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
It is not known if epinephrine passes into your breast milk.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/27/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Epipen Information
Epipen - User Reviews
Epipen User Reviews
Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Allergies & Asthma
Improve treatments & prevent attacks.