PLEASE NOTE: The ASCIA guidelines state that once a child is over 20kg in weight, an adult Epipen should be used.
Adrenaline is the first line of treatment in life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). In this situation the airways may narrow making it more difficult to breathe. One of the most important effects of adrenaline is to open up the airways to ease breathing. A second important effect is the narrowing of blood vessels which prevents or reverses falls in blood pressure. As anaphylactic reactions (life-threatening allergic reactions) can develop within minutes of exposure to the trigger factor (which could be a bite or sting, food e.g. peanuts, drug or other substance) individuals who are at risk are often advised to carry an automatic injection device such as the EpiPen® which can be used to deliver a dose very rapidly.
The contents of the glass cartridge in the EpiPen® Auto-injector should be periodically checked to ensure that the solution is colourless. Auto-injectors should ONLY be injected into the side of the thigh. Do NOT inject into the buttocks. This medicine should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risk to the foetus. Seek medical advice from your doctor. Accidental injection into the hands or feet may result in loss of blood flow to the affected area and should be avoided. If there is an accidental injection into these areas, emergency treatment should be sought.