Antihistamine or epinephrine?

Antihistamines are commonly used for treating hives or other skin symptoms, but they do not treat the life‑threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis (see below for a list of symptoms to watch for). According to National Food Allergy Guidelines, epinephrine is the only recommended first‑line treatment for anaphylaxis. Epinephrine is the medication in EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors.

Anaphylaxis is unpredictable.

In addition, the severity, progression, symptoms and duration of the symptoms of anaphylaxis are inconsistent and unpredictable. It is important to talk to your health care professional about your risks.

Vigilance is essential.

Because of this unpredictability, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers of children living with potentially life threatening, or severe, allergies—as well as adults with severe allergies—to be vigilant about any type of severe allergic reaction. Avoiding known allergens is the best way to help prevent anaphylaxis. Do everything possible to avoid your allergens.

- Make sure that family members, school personnel, babysitters or anyone else who maybe responsible for the care of your child knows what allergens your child needs to avoid

- When cooking and preparing food take steps to avoid allergens

- Plan ahead when eating out or traveling - inform restaurants and airlines about any known allergens and ask about their food allergy policy

Talk to a health care professional about how to identify the signs and symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Recognize the symptoms that might occur.

Anaphylaxis is a severe or potentially life‑threatening allergic reaction that occurs very quickly—even as fast as within a couple of minutes of exposure to an allergen. Here are some of the symptoms to watch for.


  • Feeling very anxious
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Passing out


  • Itching
  • Swelling of lips and/or tongue
  • Tingling of lips or tongue


  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing


  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Swelling


  • Itching
  • Tightness/closure
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness


  • Weak pulse
  • Fast heartbeat


  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps

What should you do?

If you, your child or someone you're caring for shows signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, administer EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto‑Injector immediately as prescribed and seek emergency medical care.

Acting fast can make a difference.

In all cases of anaphylaxis prompt assessment and treatment are critical. Epinephrine is the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. If you suspect you're having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), don't hesitate to use an epinephrine auto-injector and immediately seek emergency medical care.

What should I tell my doctor before using EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr®

Use your EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injector for treatment of anaphylaxis as prescribed by your health care professional, regardless of medical conditions or medication. People with certain medical conditions have a higher chance of having serious side effects from EpiPen® Auto-Injector.

EpiPen® Auto-Injector should be used with caution if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions or diabetes, or if you are pregnant or take medicines that can cause heart related symptoms. These conditions should be discussed with your health care professional.