Epinephrine Auto-Injectors for Severe Allergic Reaction (Adrenaclick®, Auvi-Q®, EpiPen®, Symjepi®)

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Epinephrine auto-injectors are devices that contain epinephrine (ep eh NEF rin). This medicine is used to treat severe allergic reactions called anaphylaxis (an uh ful LAK sis). When a child comes in contact with something they are allergic to, reactions usually happen fast, within 30 to 60 minutes.

When to Use

Use this device (Picture 1) to stop a severe allergic reaction. Reactions often occur due to a bee sting, food or medicine. Some signs of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • trouble breathingEpiPen
  • tight, hoarse or scratchy throat
  • wheezing, repeated cough or shortness of breath
  • lightheaded, fainting, weak pulse or low blood pressure
  • swollen tongue, slurred speech or blue color around the lips
  • severe swelling or itching of face, scalp, arms, or legs or large hives all over the body. (You may not need epinephrine for just hives without other allergic symptoms present.)
  • vomiting (throwing up) two or more times or severe stomach cramps

How to Use the Epinephrine Auto-injector

  • Each epinephrine injector works differently. Always have two injectors with you. Instructions come with each injector and are also found online. Please visit the website to review: for Adrenaclick: www.adrenaclick.com; for Auvi-Q: www.auvi-q.com; for EpiPen(Jr): www.epipen.com; for Symjepi: www.symjepi.com.
  • Practice using the trainer that comes with the prescription. It does not have medicine or a needle. Know how to use it before there is an emergency. Teach anyone (relatives, babysitter or teacher) who cares for your child when and how to use the auto-injector.
  • Dosing is based on a person’s weight and the type of auto-injector prescribed.picture of where epipen should be administered
    • Each brand makes 2 strengths: 0.15mg and 0.3mg
    • Auvi-Q also makes a 0.1mg dose.
  • Giving the injection:
    • Each auto-injector has its own instructions.
    • Inject into mid-outer thigh (Picture 2).
    • The person getting the injection must be sitting or lying down during and after the injection.
    • If giving epinephrine to a child, hold the leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries.
    • Epinephrine can be given through clothing if needed.
  • ALWAYS CALL 9-1-1 AFTER USING EPINEPHRINE. The medicine starts to wear off in 20 to 30 minutes, and the reaction may come back. A second dose can be given in 5 to 10 minutes if your child is not better before help comes. Inhalers, like albuterol, and antihistamines (Benadryl®), will not treat severe allergic reactions. You can give them after epinephrine is used.

Important Points to Remember

  • Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector with you because you may not know when anaphylaxis will happen.
  • The most common causes of death from severe allergies are waiting too long to use the epinephrine during an allergic reaction and not having the injector with you. If you have questions, be sure to ask your child’s health care provider or pharmacist.
  • Do not store the auto-injector in a refrigerator or a hot car. Keep it at room temperature. The liquid medicine in the injector should be clear. If it is discolored or has floating specks, get a new injector.
  • Check the expiration date. Tell the provider or nurse when you need a refill.
  • See an allergist if your child has ever had a severe allergic reaction or needed epinephrine.
  • Children who have had a severe allergic reaction should wear a medical alert ID bracelet or necklace. You can get one at most pharmacies.
  • If your child has a severe reaction to this medicine, call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY 866-688-0088). They will tell you what to do.

Epinephrine Auto-Injector (PDF), Somali (PDF), Spanish (PDF)

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