Epinephrine, EpiPen: The What’s And How’s

What is an EpiPen?

EpiPens or Epinephrine injections are prescription medicines that are used in treating serious and life-threatening allergic reactions caused by foods, insect bites, medications, and other allergens. This drug belongs to the alpha and beta-adrenergic agonists that primarily work by relaxing the muscles in the air passages and tightening the blood vessels.

Epinephrine also acts quickly to help maintain proper functioning of the body. This includes the improvement of breathing, stimulation of heart functioning, raising a drop in the blood pressure, and reduction of the swelling of the face, throat, and lips.

How do I use an EpiPen?

EpiPens come as pre-filled automatic injection device that contains a solution which is injected into the thigh or arm. During emergency situations, this can also be given through the clothing.

Use EpiPens exactly as directed by a medical professional. The administration should be done by people with proper knowledge and training. Follow all directions on the label and do not increase or decrease the dosage than recommended.

EpiPens should be stored at room temperature and away from sunlight, heat, and moisture. Do not refrigerate and store in the car. If the solution changes color, call the doctor for a new prescription.

Should I check with my doctor before getting an EpiPen?

Using EpiPens should be done with utmost care by taking consideration some of the special precautions with the use of this drug.

  • Tell the doctor if you have any allergies related to Epinephrine and any other medications.
  • Tell the doctor if you are taking other prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products being taken.
  • Tell the doctor if you are suffering from any health-related conditions including chest pain, high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, depression, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Tell the doctor if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
  • Avoid driving and performing activities that require alertness as EpiPens can make you dizzy.
  • Limit drinking of alcoholic beverages as it may affect the drug taken.
  • Watch out for elderly taking EpiPens due to possible effects especially with the heart.

What are the side effects of using an EpiPen?

Epinephrine injections may cause side effects. Some of the common conditions experienced after treatment of this drug include:

  • Fast and pounding heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Extreme sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Shakiness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Eyesight problems and vision abnormalities

It is important to immediately tell or report to the doctor if any serious side effects are experienced. Medical help should be given to avoid greater risks and other problems from occurring.

The use of EpiPens or epinephrine injection benefits people suffering from allergies and other health conditions. Proper usage and dosage prescribed by physicians should be strictly followed at all times. Consider safety measures prior to using the drugs. Side effects may occur and should be immediately reported to doctors for proper treatment. Always remember to be wise, responsible, and alert when using EpiPens.


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