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

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

When to useEpiPen

This device is used to stop a severe allergic reaction, often due to a bee sting, a food or medicine. Some of the signs of a severe allergic reaction are listed below.

  • Throat: Tightness of throat, hoarse or scratchy throat, drooling
  • Breathing: Wheezing, repeated cough or shortness of breath
  • Heart: Lightheaded feeling, fainting, weak pulse, low blood pressure
  • Mouth: Swollen tongue, slurred speech or blueness around the lips
  • Skin: Severe swelling or severe itching of face, scalp, arms or legs not due to eczema (EK ze mah), or the appearance of large hives covering the body. Your child may not need epinephrine for hives alone, unless he or she has other signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Stomach: Vomiting two or more times or severe stomach cramps

How to Use the Epinephrine Auto-Injector

Instructions come with each injector prescription and are also available online. 

Please visit the online website to review:

Each epinephrine auto-injector works differently. Always have two injectors with you. 

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 who cares for your child (relatives, babysitter, child care provider or teacher) when and how to use the auto-injector also.

Dosing: Each brand makes 2 strengths: 0.15 and 0.3. Auvi-Q also makes a 0.1 mg dose.

picture of where epipen should be administered
  • 0.3mg when weight reaches 55 to 65 pounds (25 to 30 kg)
  • 0.15mg for weight up to 55 to 65 pounds
  • 0.1mg for weight below 30 pounds

Giving the injection:

  • Do not place your thumb, fingers or hand over the tip of the auto-injector.
  • Inject into mid-outer thigh.
  • The person receiving the injection must be sitting or lying down during and after the injection. This helps to prevent their moving a leg at the time of injection.
  • If giving epinephrine to a child, hold the leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries.
  • Epinephrine can be injected through clothing if needed.

Important Points to Remember

  • 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 any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  • ALWAYS CALL 9-1-1 AFTER USING EPINEPHRINE. The medicine starts to wear off in 20 to 30 minutes. The reaction may come back. A second dose can be given in 5 to 10 minutes if your child is not better. Inhalers, like albuterol and antihistamines (Benadryl®), are not usually enough to treat severe allergic reactions. You can give them after epinephrine is used.
  • Check the expiration date. Tell the doctor or nurse when a refill is needed.
  • Do not store the 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 pen.
  • 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 bracelet or necklace (you can get it 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.
  • Ask for these related Helping Hands:
    • Allergy to Medicines, HH-I-4
    • Allergy to Stinging Insects, HH-I-74
    • Allergies to Latex, HH-I-189
    • Allergies to Foods, HH-I-20

Epinephrine Auto-Injector (PDF)

HH-V-122 8/93, Revised 1/18 Copyright 1993 Nationwide Children’s Hospital