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Epinephrine Injection

This information has been reviewed and approved by Allidah Poole Hicks, RN, AE-C, MS (July 2014).

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Summary: Epinephrine Injection: The quick, easy-to-use shot that could save lives.

What Is Epinephrine?

It treats severe or life-threatening allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can occur after exposure to allergens such as:

  • Food (like milk, eggs, shellfish and peanuts)
  • Insect stings
  • Latex
  • Medications


When to Use an Epinephrine Injection

During severe allergic symptoms including:

  • Difficulty swallowing or drooling because you can't swallow
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pains or tightness
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhea


How to Use an Epinephrine Injector*

  1. Grip the epinephrine pen firmly and remove safety cap.
  2. Swing and push the pen into the middle of the outer thigh at a 90° angle.
  3. Keep the pen pressed firmly against the thigh for 10 seconds.
  4. Remove the pen and massage the injection area.

*Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the specific injector you are using.


After Use

  • Get emergency medical help right away
  • Make sure a second injection is nearby; if symptoms continue or come back within 10-15 minutes, you may need another dose
  • Take (or give your child) an antihistamine


Types of Epinephrine

Common brands include:

  • EpiPen® Auto-Injector
  • EpiPen® Jr. Auto-Injector
  • Adrenaclick® Auto-Injector
  • Auvi-Q™ Auto-Injector



  • Carry your epinephrine with you at all times
  • Carry an extra does for severe reactions
  • You can inject through your clothing


More Information on Epinephrine

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