Epinephrine should be immediately administered to a patient who fulfills any of the 3 criteria outlined in the ‘criteria for diagnosing anaphylaxis’ section.5 Prompt injection is important, as delayed injection of epinephrine is associated with fatal anaphylactic reactions.2,3,6 There will be patients, however, who present with symptoms not meeting the criteria for an anaphylaxis diagnosis in whom it would be appropriate to initiate epinephrine therapy.5 Such patients include those who have had prior near-fatal anaphylactic reactions to peanut, for example, and within minutes of re-exposure experience urticaria and generalized flushing.5,7 There are no absolute contraindications to epinephrine administration for an anaphylactic reaction. It is important to administer epinephrine immediately.6
EpiPen® (epinephrine) 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors are indicated in the emergency treatment of type 1 allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, to allergens, idiopathic and exercise-induced anaphylaxis, and in patients with a history or increased risk of anaphylactic reactions. Selection of the appropriate dosage strength is determined according to body weight.
EpiPen Auto-Injectors should only be injected into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. DO NOT INJECT INTO BUTTOCK, OR INTRAVENOUSLY.
Epinephrine should be used with caution in patients with certain heart diseases, and in patients who are on drugs that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, because it may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris and produce ventricular arrhythmias. Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have been reported in patients with underlying cardiac disease or taking cardiac glycosides or diuretics. Patients with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications for allergies, depression, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and hypertension, may be at greater risk for adverse reactions. Other adverse reactions include transient moderate anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, pallor, nausea and vomiting, headache, and/or respiratory difficulties.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors are intended for immediate self-administration as emergency supportive therapy only and are not intended as a substitute for immediate medical or hospital care.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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