Adrenalin Side Effects Center

Last updated on RxList: 1/12/2023
Adrenalin Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

What Is Adrenalin?

Adrenalin (epinephrine) is a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. These effects can reverse severe low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives, and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. An injection of adrenalin is used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens.

What Are 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.

Side effects of Adrenalin include:

  • anxiety,
  • nervousness,
  • headache,
  • fear,
  • palpitations,
  • sweating,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • pale skin,
  • shortness of breath,
  • dizziness,
  • weakness, or
  • tremors.

Before using Adrenalin a second time, tell your doctor if your first injection caused serious side effects such as increased breathing difficulty, or dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects:

  • Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • Serious heart symptoms such as fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in your chest; shortness of breath; and sudden dizziness, lightheadedness, or passing out;
  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors.

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

Dosage for Adrenalin

Adrenalin is available in many different injectable forms including auto-injector systems that can be carried by those who are prone to serious allergic reactions. The dose for adults and children 30 kg (66 lbs) or more is 0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 mL 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.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Adrenalin?

Adrenalin may interact with digoxin, diuretics (water pills), levothyroxine, chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine (antihistamines commonly contained in cold, allergy, or over-the-counter sleep medications), antidepressants, beta-blockers, ergot medicines, heart rhythm medications, or MAO inhibitors. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.

Adrenalin During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using Adrenalin. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Adrenalin Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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Adrenalin Consumer Information

Before using epinephrine, tell your doctor if any past use of this medicine caused an allergic reaction to get worse.

Call your doctor at once if you notice pain, swelling, warmth, redness, or other signs of infection around the area where you gave an injection.

Side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • breathing problems;
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats;
  • pale skin, sweating;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • dizziness;
  • weakness or tremors;
  • headache; or
  • feeling restless, fearful, nervous, anxious, or excited.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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Adrenalin Professional Information


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.

Other: 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

Drugs Potentiating Pressor Effects Of Epinephrine

  • Sympathomimetics
  • β-blockers, such as propranolol
  • Tricyclic anti-depressants
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
  • Catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitors, such as entacapone
  • Clonidine
  • Doxapram
  • Oxytocin

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
  • Antihistamines
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Diuretics
  • Cardiac glycosides, such as digitalis glycosides
  • Quinidine

Drugs Potentiating Hypokalemic Effects Of Epinephrine

  • Potassium depleting diuretics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Theophylline

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Adrenalin (Epinephrine)

© Adrenalin Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Adrenalin Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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