What is epinephrine injection?
Epinephrine-injection 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.
Epinephrine-injection is used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens. Epinephrine is also used to treat exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
Epinephrine-injection may be kept on hand for self-injection by a person with a history of an severe allergic reaction.
Epinephrine-injection may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about epinephrine injection?
Seek emergency medical attention after any use of epinephrine to treat a severe allergic reaction. After the injection you will need to receive further treatment and observation.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using epinephrine injection?
Before using Epinephrine-injection, tell your doctor if any past use of this medicine caused an allergic reaction to get worse.
To make sure Epinephrine-injection is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart disease or high blood pressure;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- depression or mental illness;
- a thyroid or adrenal gland disorder; or
- diabetes (you may need to adjust your dose of insulin or other diabetes medication after using Epinephrine-injection).
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether epinephrine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medication.
How should I use epinephrine injection?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Epinephrine-injection is injected into the muscle of your outer thigh. In an emergency, this injection can be given through your clothing.
Your medicine may also come with a “trainer pen.” The trainer pen contains no medicine and no needle. It is only for non-emergency use to practice giving yourself an Epinephrine-injection. Do not use a trainer pen to treat an allergic reaction.
The auto-injector device is a disposable single-use system that comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Do not inject this medicine if you do not understand these instructions.
Do not remove the safety cap until you are ready to use the auto-injector. Never put your fingers over the injector tip when removing the safety cap or after the safety cap has been removed.
To use an epinephrine auto-injector:
- Form a fist around the auto-injector with the tip pointing down. Pull off the safety cap.
- Place the tip against the fleshy portion of your outer thigh. You may give the injection directly through your clothing.
- Push the auto-injector firmly against your thigh to release the needle that injects the dose of epinephrine. Hold the auto-injector in place for 10 seconds after activation.
- Remove the auto-injector from your thigh and massage the area gently. Carefully re-insert the used device needle-first into the carrying tube. Re-cap the tube and take it with you to the emergency room so that anyone who treats you will know how much epinephrine you have received.
- Use an auto-injector only one time. Do not try to reinsert an auto-injector a second time if the needle has come out of your skin before the full 10 seconds. If the needle is bent from the first use, it may cause serious injury to your skin.
Seek emergency medical attention after any use of epinephrine to treat a severe allergic reaction. The effects of epinephrine may wear off after 10 or 20 minutes. You will need to receive further treatment and observation.
Do not use epinephrine injection if it has changed colors or has particles in it, or if the expiration date on the label has passed. Call your pharmacist for a new prescription.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not refrigerate or freeze this medication, and do not store it in a car.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since epinephrine is normally used only as needed in an emergency, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule. Do not use repeat doses of epinephrine without a doctor’s advice.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention right away after any use of epinephrine injection.
Symptoms of an epinephrine overdose may include worsened breathing trouble, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance, or dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).
What should I avoid while using epinephrine injection?
Do not inject epinephrine into a vein or into the muscles of your buttocks, or it may not work as well. Inject it only into the fleshy outer portion of the thigh.
Accidentally injecting epinephrine into your hands or feet may result in a loss of blood flow to those areas, and resulting numbness.
Epinephrine injection side effects
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.