EpiPen is an immediate response, injectable medication intended for use during anaphylactic reactions, caused by allergies. It is supplied in an applicator similar in shape to a pen, hence the name 'epi pen', which contains a needle inside. This is jabbed into the thigh when required, and releases adrenaline into the body to avert symptoms. EpiPen is made by Meda, but is not currently available to buy from our online pharmacy in the UK.
- Safety net for those with severe allergies
- Can limit anaphylactic effects
- Fast application method
Allergic reactions tend to vary greatly in their severity. Some people with allergies such as hay fever may experience mild to moderate symptoms after coming into contact with pollen, such as coughing, sneezing or puffing around the eyes. Others, such as those who are allergic to certain soaps or cosmetics, may develop skin conditions similar to dermatitis. These types of allergic reactions can be uncomfortable, but are not usually life-threatening.
However, anaphylactic reactions caused by coming into contact with an allergen can be fatal in some cases. These are more typically very sudden in nature, and can be triggered by insect stings, certain foods such as nuts or shellfish, or sometimes medication. The most common signs of an anaphylactic response include the appearance of a rash which may be very itchy, swelling in the face (especially in the eyes and lips) or the throat, wheezing, and in some cases, loss of consciousness. Sometimes, symptoms can be so severe that they can lead to heart failure.
Anaphylaxis occurs when the immune system responds drastically to the stimuli provided by an allergen, even though it may be harmless. Essentially, the immune system is attempting to protect the body from the allergen, which is perceived as a threat, by releasing certain chemicals. These cause a severe, inflammatory response in the body, causing blood vessels to widen, thereby dramatically dropping blood pressure. This leads to the swelling of tissue and the onset of the above symptoms.
Broken down, the name epi pen refers to both the name of the active ingredient, and the way the treatment is delivered.EpiPen contains an adrenaline called epinephrine, which works quickly to shrink blood vessels and prevent them from dilating. This helps to manage blood pressure, enabling the heart to maintain normal function; and reduces the swelling of tissue, including in the throat, facilitating easier breathing.
In addition to the standard pen for adults, Meda has also developed EpiPen Jr. This is a reduced dose version, which is used to treat anaphylaxis in children with a weight of 15-30kg. It is administered in exactly the same manner as the adult pen, and performs an identical function in the body. However, please note that this is not available to buy from our UK pharmacy.
If you are looking to renew your EpiPen prescription, or if you think you may be susceptible to anaphylactic reactions and would like to know more about this treatment, speak to your GP in person.
Take the time to familiarise yourself with the instructions provided. Doing so will help you to understand how to use this treatment properly in the event that you will need to.
- The standard issue dose for adults is 0.3mg.
- After coming into contact with an allergen, take measures to quickly remove it from the body as much as you can. For example, a stinger from a wasp or bee sting should be picked out as soon as possible. Foods which cause allergic reactions should be swiftly removed from the mouth.
- EpiPen should be applied as soon as you notice the signs of an allergic reaction.
- This can be done through clothing if the situation requires it.
- Administer the EpiPen to the outside of the thigh.
- It should be struck in firmly from a distance of 10cm, at a 90 degree angle.
- Apply to the muscle. Do not inject it intravenously, as this may cause serious harm.
- The plunger inside will activate and release the adrenaline.
- Hold the injector in place for around 10 seconds before carefully removing.
- The dose has been administered once the window on the EpiPen is covered.
- Massage your leg for 10 seconds after removing the needle.
- Detailed directions on how to use the application device itself can be located in the patient information leaflet.
- If allergic symptoms persist, you may be able to administer a second dose from another EpiPen, but only if your doctor has deemed this as a suitable course of action beforehand.
- In these cases, it may be advisable to carry more than one EpiPen at a time.
- You will need to get medical assistance after using EpiPen to make sure your symptoms do not return or escalate.
Please note that the above constitutes only a summary of the directions you will need to follow when carrying and using this product. Consult the leaflet supplied for more comprehensive information.
The following side effects have occurred in some users: irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, sweating, headache, dizziness, feeling or being sick, difficulty breathing, weakness, tremor and apprehension, and anxiety.
When seeking treatment following use, let your doctor know if you have experienced any side effects whatsoever. Consult the leaflet provided for further guidance.
Taking it with other medicines
Let your doctor know if you are using any other treatments, including the following, as they may affect or be affected by the function of this product: drugs for diabetes; antidepressants; or treatments which can increase sensitivity to arrhythmias, such as digitalis, mercurial diuretics or quinidine.
Conditions to look out for
If you weigh less than 30kg, or have any of the following conditions, inform your prescriber, as they may suggest taking special precautions during the use of EpiPen: heart disease; an overactive thyroid; high blood pressure; or diabetes.
Our forum EpiPen
Can I still drink alcohol?
This product is an instant treatment for allergic reactions, and its effectiveness is not likely to be reduced by alcohol. However, generally, you should avoid drinking too much alcohol, as doing so may put you in a position where you are unable to administer the treatment yourself, if and when required.
The consumption of alcohol should be avoided immediately following use, and medical advice should be sought right away.
Will I still be able to drive?
You are unlikely to be able to drive safely if you are experiencing anaphylactic shock. We would therefore not recommend doing so after applying this product. Call an ambulance to take you to hospital, or get someone else to.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
Inform your doctor during consultation if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and they will advise you.
You should still use this medication if you are pregnant and experience anaphylaxis, to protect your child’s life and your own.
How should I store it?
Keep in a safe environment below 25°C. Do not put it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Store it in the outer container to protect it from excessive sources of light. Check the fluid inside the glass cartridge in the EpiPen at regular intervals. It should be clear and colourless. If it is not, replace it.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
This item contains: adrenaline, sodium chloride, sodium metabisulphite, hydrochloric acid, and water for injections.
Is it available over-the-counter?
You will need a prescription in order to buy EpiPen. Fill in our questionnaire and if your order is approved, our practitioner will draw up a prescription for your item.
Is it right for me?
If you have a severe allergy and are at risk from anaphylactic reactions, then having the right protection isn’t only right for you: it’s crucial.
Talk to your doctor or consultant allergist to find out more about this treatment.
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