Epinephrine injection comes as a pre-filled automatic injection device containing a solution (liquid) and in vials to inject subcutaneously (under the skin) or intramuscularly (into the muscle). It is usually injected as needed at the first sign of a serious allergic reaction. Use epinephrine injection exactly as directed; do not inject it more often or inject more or less of it than prescribed by your doctor.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you and any of your caregivers who could be injecting the medication how to use the pre-filled automatic injection device. Training devices are available to practice how to use the automatic injection device during an emergency. Training devices do not contain medication and do not have a needle. Before you use epinephrine injection for the first time, read the patient information that comes with it. This information includes directions for how to use the pre-filled automatic injection device. Be sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor if you or your caregivers have any questions about how to inject this medication.
You should inject epinephrine injection as soon as you suspect that you may be experiencing a serious allergic reaction. Signs of a serious allergic reaction include closing of the airways, wheezing, sneezing, hoarseness, hives, itching, swelling, skin redness, fast heartbeat, weak pulse, anxiety, confusion, stomach pain, losing control of urine or bowel movements, faintness, or loss of consciousness. Talk to your doctor about these symptoms and be sure you understand how to tell when you are having a serious allergic reaction and should inject epinephrine.
Keep your automatic injection device with you or available at all times so that you will be able to inject epinephrine quickly when an allergic reaction begins. Be aware of the expiration date stamped on the device and replace the device when this date passes. Look at the solution in the device from time to time. If the solution is discolored or contains particles, call your doctor to get a new injection device.
Epinephrine injection helps to treat serious allergic reactions, but does not take the place of medical treatment. Get emergency medical treatment immediately after you inject epinephrine. Rest quietly while you wait for emergency medical treatment.
Most automatic injection devices contain enough solution for one dose of epinephrine. If your symptoms continue or return after the first injection, your doctor may tell you to use a second dose of epinephrine injection with a new injection device. Be sure that you know how to inject the second dose and how to tell whether you should inject a second dose. Only a healthcare provider should give more than 2 injections for a single allergic episode.
Epinephrine should be injected only in the middle of the outer side of the thigh, and can be injected through clothing if necessary in an emergency. If you are injecting epinephrine to a young child who may move during the injection, hold their leg firmly in place and limit the child's movement before and during the injection. Do not inject epinephrine into the buttocks or any other part of your body such as fingers, hands, or feet or into a vein. Do not put your thumb, fingers, or hand over the needle area of the automatic injection device. If epinephrine is accidently injected into these areas, get emergency medical treatment immediately.
After you inject a dose of epinephrine injection, some solution will remain in the injection device. This is normal and does not mean that you did not receive the full dose. Do not use the extra liquid; dispose of the remaining liquid and device properly. Take the used device with you to the emergency room or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider how to dispose of used injection devices safely.