What is Adrenalin and how is it used?
Adrenalin is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of cardiac arrest, hypotension associated with Septic Shock, severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), symptomatic bradycardia and Mydriasis. Adrenalin may be used alone or with other medications.
Adrenalin belongs to a class of drugs called Alpha/Beta Adrenergic Agonists; Alpha/Beta Agonists.
What are the possible side effects of Adrenalin?
Adrenalin may cause serious side effects including:
- pain, swelling, warmth, redness or signs of infection at the injection area,
Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.
The most common side effects of Adrenalin include:
- breathing problems,
- fast or pounding heartbeats,
- pale skin,
- weakness or tremors,
- throbbing headache,
- feeling nervous,
- anxious, and
Tell the doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Adrenalin. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Adrenalin® (epinephrine injection, USP) is a clear, colorless, sterile solution containing 1 mg/mL (1:1000) epinephrine, packaged as 1 mL of solution in a single-use clear glass vial or 30 mL of solution in a multiple-dose amber glass vial. In the 1 mL vial, each 1 mL of Adrenalin® solution contains 1 mg epinephrine, 9.0 mg sodium chloride, 1.0 mg sodium metabisulfite, hydrochloric acid to adjust pH, and water for injection. In the 30 mL vial, each 1 mL of Adrenalin® solution contains 1 mg epinephrine, 6.15 mg sodium chloride, 0.457 mg sodium metabisulfite, 0.920 mg sodium hydroxide, 2.25 mg tartaric acid, 0.20 mg disodium edetate dihydrate, hydrochloric acid to adjust pH, 5.25 mg chlorobutanol as a preservative and water for injection. The pH range is 2.2-5.0.
Epinephrine is a sympathomimetic catecholamine. The chemical name of epinephrine is: 1,2-Benzenediol, 4-[(1R)-1-hydroxy-2-(methylamino)ethyl]-, or (-)-3,4-Dihydroxy-α-[2(methylamino)ethyl]benzyl alcohol.
The chemical structure of epinephrine is:
The molecular weight of epinephrine is 183.2.
Epinephrine solution deteriorates rapidly on exposure to air or light, turning pink from oxidation to adrenochrome and brown from the formation of melanin.
Emergency treatment of allergic reactions (Type I), including anaphylaxis, which may result from insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, sera, diagnostic testing substances and other allergens, as well as idiopathic anaphylaxis or exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
Hypotension Associated With Septic Shock
Adrenalin is indicated to increase mean arterial blood pressure in adult patients with hypotension associated with septic shock.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Inspect visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration; solution should be clear and colorless. Do not use if the solution is colored or cloudy, or if it contains particulate matter.
Inject Adrenalin intramuscularly or subcutaneously into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh, through clothing if necessary. When administering to a child, to minimize the risk of injection related injury, hold the leg firmly in place and limit movement prior to and during an injection. The injection may be repeated every 5 to 10 minutes as necessary. For intramuscular administration, use a needle long enough (at least ½ inch) to ensure the injection is administered into the muscle. Monitor the patient clinically for the severity of the allergic reaction and potential cardiac effects of the drug, and repeat as needed. Do not administer repeated injections at the same site, as the resulting vasoconstriction may cause tissue necrosis.
Adults And Children 30 kg (66 lbs) Or More
0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 to 0.5 mL) of undiluted Adrenalin administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh, up to a maximum of 0.5 mg (0.5 mL) per injection, repeated every 5 to 10 minutes as necessary. Monitor clinically for reaction severity and cardiac effects.
Children Less Than 30 kg (66 lbs)
0.01 mg/kg (0.01 mL/kg) of undiluted Adrenalin administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh, up to a maximum of 0.3 mg (0.3 mL) per injection, repeated every 5 to 10 minutes as necessary. Monitor clinically for reaction severity and cardiac effects.
Hypotension Associated With Septic Shock
Dilute 1 mL (1 mg) of epinephrine from its vial to 1,000 mL of a 5 percent dextrose or 5 percent dextrose and sodium chloride solution to produce a 1 mcg per mL dilution. Administration in saline solution alone is not recommended. If indicated, administer whole blood or plasma separately.
Whenever possible, give infusions of epinephrine into a large vein. Avoid using a catheter tie-in technique, because the obstruction to blood flow around the tubing may cause stasis and increased local concentration of the drug. Avoid the veins of the leg in elderly patients or in those suffering from occlusive vascular diseases.
To provide hemodynamic support in septic shock associated hypotension in adult patients, the suggested dosing infusion rate of intravenously administered epinephrine is 0.05 to 2 mcg/kg/min, and is titrated to achieve a desired mean arterial pressure (MAP). The dosage may be adjusted periodically, such as every 10 - 15 minutes, in increments of 0.05 to 0.2 mcg/kg/min, to achieve the desired blood pressure goal.
After hemodynamic stabilization, wean incrementally over time, such as by decreasing doses of epinephrine every 10 minutes to determine if the patient can tolerate gradual withdrawal. Adrenalin diluted in 5 percent dextrose solutions or 5 percent dextrose and sodium chloride solutions are stable for 4 hours at room temperature or 24 hours under refrigerated conditions.
Dosage Forms And Strengths
Adrenalin injection: clear, colorless solution supplied as 1 mg/1 mL in a single dose clear glass vial and as 30 mg/30 mL (1 mg/mL) in a multiple dose amber glass vial.
Storage And Handling
Adrenalin 1 mg/mL Single Dose Vials
Each carton contains 25 single dose vials containing 1 mg/mL Adrenalin (epinephrine injection, USP) solution in a 3 mL clear glass vial.
NDC 42023-159-01 1 mL Single Dose Vial
NDC 42023-159-25 25 Single Dose Vials x 1 mL each
Discard unused portion.
Adrenalin 30 mg/30 mL (1 mg/mL) Multiple Dose Vials
Each carton contains 1 multiple dose vial containing 30 mg/30 mL (1 mg/mL) Adrenalin (epinephrine injection, USP) solution in a 36 mL amber glass vial.
NDC 42023-168-01 30 mL Multiple Dose Vial
Vial and contents must be discarded 30 days after initial use.
Store between 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature]. Epinephrine is light sensitive. Protect from light and freezing.
Inspect visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration. Do not use the solution if it is colored or cloudy, or if it contains particulate matter.
Distributed by: Par Pharmaceutical, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977. Revised: Jan 2019
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].
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:
Cardiovascular: angina, arrhythmias, hypertension, pallor, palpitations, tachyarrhythmia, tachycardia, vasoconstriction, ventricular ectopy and stress cardiomyopathy. Rapid rises in blood pressure associated with epinephrine use have produced cerebral hemorrhage, particularly in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Neurological: disorientation, impaired memory, panic, psychomotor agitation, sleepiness, tingling.
Psychiatric: anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness.
Patients with Parkinson's disease may experience psychomotor agitation or a temporary worsening of symptoms [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Diabetic patients may experience transient increases in blood sugar.
Injection into the buttock has resulted in cases of gas gangrene [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections, including necrotizing fasciitis and myonecrosis caused by Clostridia (gas gangrene), have been reported following epinephrine injection in the thigh [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Drugs Antagonizing Pressor Effects Of Epinephrine
α-blockers, such as phentolamine
- Vasodilators, such as nitrates
- Ergot alkaloids
- Phenothiazine antipsychotics
Drugs Potentiating Pressor Effects Of Epinephrine
- β-blockers, such as propranolol
- Tricyclic anti-depressants
- Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
- Catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitors, such as entacapone
Drugs Potentiating Arrhythmogenic Effects Of Epinephrine
Cardiac arrhythmias are more common among patients receiving any of the following drugs [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
- β-blockers, such as propranolol
- Cyclopropane or halogenated hydrocarbon anesthetics, such as halothane
- Thyroid hormones
- Cardiac glycosides, such as digitalis glycosides
Drugs Potentiating Hypokalemic Effects Of Epinephrine
- Potassium depleting diuretics
Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.
Incorrect Locations Of Injection For Anaphylaxis
Injection into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh (vastus lateralis muscle) is the most appropriate location for administration because of its location, size, and available blood flow. Injection into (or near) smaller muscles, such as in the deltoid, is not recommended.
Do not administer repeated injections of epinephrine at the same site, as the resulting vasoconstriction may cause tissue necrosis.
Do not inject into buttock. Injection into the buttock may not provide effective treatment of anaphylaxis and has been associated with the development of Clostridial infections (gas gangrene).
Do not inject into digits, hands, or feet. Epinephrine is a strong vasoconstrictor. Accidental injection into the digits, hands or feet may result in loss of blood flow to the affected area and tissue necrosis.
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.
Extravasation And Tissue Necrosis With Intravenous Infusion
Avoid extravasation of epinephrine into the tissues, to prevent local necrosis. When Adrenalin is administered intravenously, check the infusion site frequently for free flow. Blanching along the course of the infused vein, sometimes without obvious extravasation, may be attributed to vasa vasorum constriction with increased permeability of the vein wall, permitting some leakage. This also may progress on rare occasions to superficial slough. Hence, if blanching occurs, consider changing the infusion site at intervals to allow the effects of local vasoconstriction to subside.
There is potential for gangrene in a lower extremity when infusions of catecholamine are given in an ankle vein.
Antidote for Extravasation Ischemia: To prevent sloughing and necrosis in areas in which extravasation has taken place, infiltrate the area with 10 mL to 15 mL of saline solution containing from 5 mg to 10 mg of phentolamine, an adrenergic blocking agent. Use a syringe with a fine hypodermic needle, with the solution being infiltrated liberally throughout the area, which is easily identified by its cold, hard, and pallid appearance. Sympathetic blockade with phentolamine causes immediate and conspicuous local hyperemic changes if the area is infiltrated within 12 hours.
Because individual response to epinephrine may vary significantly, monitor blood pressure frequently and titrate to avoid excessive increases in blood pressure.
Patients receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or antidepressants of the triptyline or imipramine types may experience severe, prolonged hypertension when given epinephrine.
Epinephrine increases cardiac output and causes peripheral vasoconstriction, which may result in pulmonary edema.
Epinephrine constricts renal blood vessels, which may result in oliguria or renal impairment.
Cardiac Arrhythmias And Ischemia
Epinephrine may induce cardiac arrhythmias and myocardial ischemia in patients, especially patients suffering from coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathy.
Allergic Reactions Associated With Sulfite
Adrenalin contains sodium bisulfite which may cause mild to severe allergic reactions including anaphylaxis or asthmatic episodes in susceptible individuals. However, the presence of bisulfate in this product should not preclude its use for the treatment of serious allergic or other emergency situations even if the patient is sulfite-sensitive, as the alternatives to using epinephrine in a life-threatening situation may not be satisfactory.
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. Epinephrine was positive in the Salmonella bacterial reverse mutation assay, positive in the mouse lymphoma assay, and negative in the in vivo micronucleus assay. Epinephrine is an oxidative mutagen based on the E. coli WP2 Mutoxitest bacterial reverse mutation assay. This should not prevent the use of epinephrine under the conditions noted under INDICATIONS AND USAGE.
The potential for epinephrine to impair reproductive performance has not been evaluated, but epinephrine has been shown to decrease implantation in female rabbits dosed subcutaneously with 1.2 mg/kg/day (15-fold the highest human intramuscular or subcutaneous daily dose) during gestation days 3 to 9.
Use In Specific Populations
Prolonged experience with epinephrine use in pregnant women over several decades, based on published literature, do not identify a drug associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. However, there are risks to the mother and fetus associated with epinephrine use during labor or delivery (see Clinical Considerations). In animal reproduction studies, epinephrine administered by the subcutaneous route to pregnant rabbits, mice, and hamsters, during the period of organogenesis, resulted in adverse developmental effects (including gastroschisis, and embryonic lethality, and delayed skeletal ossification) at doses approximately 2 times the maximum recommended daily intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous dose (see Data).
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the United States general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.
Disease-Associated Maternal And/Or Embryo/Fetal Risk
During pregnancy, anaphylaxis can be catastrophic and can lead to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and permanent central nervous system damage or death in the mother and, more commonly, in the fetus or neonate. The prevalence of anaphylaxis occurring during pregnancy is reported to be approximately 3 cases per 100,000 deliveries.
Management of anaphylaxis during pregnancy is similar to management in the general population. Epinephrine is the first line-medication of choice for treatment of anaphylaxis; it should be used in the same manner in pregnant and non-pregnant patients. In conjunction with the administration of epinephrine, the patient should seek immediate medical or hospital care.
Hypotension associated with septic shock is a medical emergency in pregnancy which can be fatal if left untreated. Delaying treatment in pregnant women with hypotension associated with septic shock may increase the risk of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Life-sustaining therapy for the pregnant woman should not be withheld due to potential concerns regarding the effects of epinephrine on the fetus.
Labor Or Delivery
Epinephrine usually inhibits spontaneous or oxytocin induced contractions of the pregnant human uterus and may delay the second stage of labor. Avoid epinephrine during the second stage of labor. In dosage sufficient to reduce uterine contractions, the drug may cause a prolonged period of uterine atony with hemorrhage. Avoid epinephrine in obstetrics when maternal blood pressure exceeds 130/80 mmHg.
In an embryofetal development study with pregnant rabbits dosed during the period of organogenesis (on days 3 to 5, 6 to 7 or 7 to 9 of gestation), epinephrine caused teratogenic effects (including gastroschisis) at doses approximately 15 times the maximum recommended intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous dose (on a mg/m² basis at a maternal subcutaneous dose of 1.2 mg/kg/day for two to three days). Animals treated on days 6 to 7 had decreased number of implantations.
In an embryofetal development study, pregnant mice were administered epinephrine (0.1 to 10 mg/kg/day) on Gestation Days 6 to 15. Teratogenic effects, embryonic lethality, and delays in skeletal ossification were observed at approximately 3 times the maximum recommended intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous dose (on a mg/m² basis at maternal subcutaneous dose of 1 mg/kg/day for 10 days). These effects were not seen in mice at approximately 2 times the maximum recommended daily intramuscular or subcutaneous dose (on a mg/m² basis at a subcutaneous maternal dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day for 10 days).
In an embryofetal development study with pregnant hamsters dosed during the period of organogenesis from gestation days 7 to 10, epinephrine produced reductions in litter size and delayed skeletal ossification at doses approximately 2 times the maximum recommended intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous dose (on a mg/m² basis at a maternal subcutaneous dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day).
There is no information regarding the presence of epinephrine in human milk or the effects of epinephrine on the breastfed infant or on milk production. However, due to its poor oral bioavailability and short half-life, epinephrine exposure is expected to be very low in the breastfed infant.
Epinephrine is the first-line medication of choice for treatment of anaphylaxis; it should be used in the same manner for anaphylaxis in breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding patients.
Clinical use data support weight-based dosing for treatment of anaphylaxis in pediatric patients, and other reported 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.
Safety and effectiveness of epinephrine in pediatric patients with septic shock have not been established.
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, for the treatment of anaphylaxis, consider starting with a lower dose to take into account potential concomitant disease or other drug therapy. Clinical studies of epinephrine for the treatment of hypotension associated with septic shock did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Overdosage of epinephrine may produce extremely elevated arterial pressure, which may result in cerebrovascular hemorrhage, particularly in elderly patients. Overdosage may also result in pulmonary edema because of peripheral vascular constriction together with cardiac stimulation. Epinephrine overdosage can also cause transient bradycardia followed by tachycardia and these may be accompanied by potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Premature ventricular contractions may appear within one minute after injection and may be followed by multifocal ventricular tachycardia (prefibrillation rhythm). Subsidence of the ventricular effects may be followed by atrial tachycardia and occasionally by atrioventricular block. Myocardial ischemia and infarction, cardiomyopathy, extreme pallor and coldness of the skin, metabolic acidosis due to elevated blood lactic acid levels, and renal insufficiency have also been reported.
Epinephrine is rapidly inactivated in the body and treatment following overdose with epinephrine is primarily supportive. Treatment of pulmonary edema consists of a rapidly acting alphaadrenergic blocking drug (such as phentolamine mesylate) and respiratory support. Treatment of arrhythmias consists of administration of a beta-adrenergic blocking drug (such as propranolol). If necessary, pressor effects may be counteracted by rapidly acting vasodilators or α-adrenergic blocking drugs. If prolonged hypotension follows such measures, it may be necessary to administer another pressor drug.
Mechanism Of Action
Epinephrine acts on both alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors. The mechanism of the rise in blood pressure is 3-fold: a direct myocardial stimulation that increases the strength of ventricular contraction (positive inotropic action), an increased heart rate (positive chronotropic action), and peripheral vasoconstriction.
Intramuscular And Subcutaneous Use For Anaphylaxis
Through its action on alpha-adrenergic receptors, epinephrine lessens the vasodilation and increased vascular permeability that occurs during anaphylaxis, which can lead to loss of intravascular fluid volume and hypotension.
Epinephrine also alleviates pruritus, urticaria, and angioedema and may relieve gastrointestinal and genitourinary symptoms associated with anaphylaxis because of its relaxer effects on the smooth muscle of the stomach, intestine, uterus and urinary bladder.
Intravenous Use For Hypotension Associated With Septic Shock
When administered parenterally, epinephrine has a rapid onset and short duration of action. Following intravenous administration of epinephrine, increases in systolic blood pressure and heart rate are observed. Decreases in systemic vascular resistance and diastolic blood pressure are observed at low doses of epinephrine because of β2-mediated vasodilation, but are overtaken by α1-mediated peripheral vasoconstriction at higher doses leading to increase in diastolic blood pressure. The onset of blood pressure increase following an intravenous dose of epinephrine is < 5 minutes and the time to offset blood pressure response occurs within 15 minutes. Most vascular beds are constricted including renal, splanchnic, mucosal and skin.
Epinephrine causes mydriasis when administered parenterally.
Following intravenous injection, epinephrine is rapidly cleared from the plasma with an effective half-life of < 5 minutes. A pharmacokinetic steady state following continuous intravenous infusion is achieved within 10-15 minutes. In patients with septic shock, epinephrine displays dose-proportional pharmacokinetics in the infusion dose range of 0.03 to 1.7 mcg/kg/min.
Epinephrine is extensively metabolized with only a small amount excreted unchanged.
Epinephrine is rapidly degraded to vanillylmandelic acid, an inactive metabolite, by monoamine oxidase and catechol-O-methyltransferase that are abundantly expressed in the liver, kidneys and other extraneuronal tissues. The tissues with the highest contribution to removal of circulating exogenous epinephrine are the liver (32%), kidneys (25%), skeletal muscle (20%), and mesenteric organs (12%).
In a pharmacokinetic study of 45-minute epinephrine infusions given to healthy men aged 20 to 25 years and healthy men aged 60 to 65 years, the mean plasma metabolic clearance rate of epinephrine at steady state was greater among the older men (144.8 versus 78 mL/kg/min for a 0.0143 mcg/kg/min infusion).
Body weight has been found to influence epinephrine pharmacokinetics. Higher body weight was associated with a higher plasma epinephrine clearance and a lower concentration plateau.
Advise patients or their caregivers about common adverse reactions associated with the use of epinephrine including 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 recumbent positioning.
Warn patients with a good response to initial treatment about the possibility of recurrence of symptoms and instruct patients to obtain proper medical attention if symptoms return.
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].
Asthma and Allergy Resources
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.