Epinephrine Injection

Epinephrine is a medicine given by injection to temporarily treat an emergency allergic reaction. It is also used to treat severe asthmatic attacks and other lung problems. The medicine helps to enlarge (dilate) the small breathing tubes of the lungs. A life-threatening, sudden allergic reaction that involves the whole body is called anaphylaxis. Because of potential side effects, epinephrine should only be used as directed by your caregiver.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

Possible side effects of epinephrine injections include:

  • Chest pain.

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Nausea.

  • Vomiting.

  • Abdominal pain or cramping.

  • Sweating.

  • Dizziness.

  • Weakness.

  • Headache.

  • Nervousness.

Report all side effects to your caregiver.

HOW TO GIVE AN EPINEPHRINE INJECTION

Give the epinephrine injection immediately when symptoms of a severe reaction begin. Inject the medicine into the outer thigh or any available, large muscle. Your caregiver can teach you how to do this. You do not need to remove any clothing. After the injection, call your local emergency services (911 in U.S.). Even if you improve after the injection, you need to be examined at a hospital emergency department. Epinephrine works quickly, but it also wears off quickly. Delayed reactions can occur. A delayed reaction may be as serious and dangerous as the initial reaction.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Make sure you and your family know how to give an epinephrine injection.

  • Use epinephrine injections as directed by your caregiver. Do not use this medicine more often or in larger doses than prescribed.

  • Always carry your epinephrine injection or anaphylaxis kit with you. This can be lifesaving if you have a severe reaction.

  • Store the medicine in a cool, dry place. If the medicine becomes discolored or cloudy, dispose of it properly and replace it with new medicine.

  • Check the expiration date on your medicine. It may be unsafe to use medicines past their expiration date.

  • Tell your caregiver about any other medicines you are taking. Some medicines can react badly with epinephrine.

  • Tell your caregiver about any medical conditions you have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, irregular heartbeats, or if you are pregnant.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have used an epinephrine injection. Call your local emergency services (911 in U.S.). Even if you improve after the injection, you need to be examined at a hospital emergency department to make sure your allergic reaction is under control. You will also be monitored for adverse effects from the medicine.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You have irregular or fast heartbeats.

  • You have shortness of breath.

  • You have severe headaches.

  • You have severe nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps.

  • You have severe pain, swelling, or redness in the area where you gave the injection.