EpiPen is a brand name for an epinephrine auto-injector. Other brand names include Auvi-Q and Adrenaclick. There are also generic or unbranded epinephrine auto-injectors. All these devices contain epinephrine, a vital medication for allergy sufferers experiencing anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening systemic allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis victims can have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Itchy eyes, throat, mouth, and/or skin
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Rash or hives
- Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or wheezing
- Chest and/or abdominal pain
- Chest tightness
- Heart palpitations and/or rapid pulse
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
- Decreased blood pressure
- Fainting and/or loss of consciousness
When any of these symptoms become severe because of exposure to an allergen, treatment for anaphylaxis is recommended. Anaphylaxis is always considered a medical emergency.
How is an epinephrine auto-injector used to treat anaphylaxis?
The first line of treatment for anaphylaxis is a dose of epinephrine from an auto-injector, like the EpiPen. Some people may need two doses of epinephrine to control symptoms until they can reach an emergency room or urgent care clinic.
Epinephrine auto-injectors deliver a pre-measured dose of epinephrine under the skin, which quickly works on the entire body to stop the allergic response. Epinephrine is the only medication known to provide this whole body effect, which is why it is the only medication recommended for anaphylactic episodes. Epinephrine is life-saving.
How do I use an epinephrine auto-injector?
While the EpiPen is the most commonly known brand of epinephrine auto-injectors, there are many other brands and generics that are all equally as effective. The method of administration will depend on which epinephrine auto-injector you are using, so be sure to discuss your specific medication with your doctor and/or pharmacist to be sure you understand how to use it.
Do I need an epinephrine auto-injector?
If you have any type of severe allergy, whether it is to food, medication, bug stings, or some other substance, you need to see an allergist to determine if an epinephrine auto-injector is right for you. If your allergist does prescribe an auto-injector, keep it with you at all times, and inform those close to you of where it is as it could literally save your life.
Where can I find an allergist in Tampa Bay?
Luckily for those with severe allergies in and around Tampa, the ace team of allergy professionals at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay has the tools, experience, and resources needed to treat even the most severe allergies. Call (813) 971-9743 or schedule an appointment online to be seen at one of our two Tampa Bay locations. Our expert allergists have helped hundreds of central Florida residents live higher quality lives with relief from severe allergy symptoms.