EpiPen – Epinephrine
The EpiPen is a disposable, automatic injection used in the first aid setting for the management of anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction. It contains a synthetic version of adrenaline called epinephrine; hence the name EpiPen. Evidence suggests that delayed administration of epinephrine leads to a higher rate of fatalities.
How to administer an EpiPen
- Call for assistance.
- Do not leave the patient alone.
- Lay the patient flat, if they are having trouble breathing, allow them to sit. Do not allow them to stand or walk.
- Remove the allergen.
- Remove the autoinjector from the carrier tube, inspect and confirm that it is within the expiry date and that the solution is clear.
- Hold firmly with orange tip pointing downwards “Blue to the sky, orange to the thigh…”
- Remove safety cap by pulling straight upwards (no bending or twisting).
- Push the orange tip firmly into the mid outer thigh until you hear a “click”.
- Hold in place for 3 seconds.
- Remove from patient’s thigh, the orange needle cover will automatically extend to cover the needle.
- Safely dispose of autoinjector (preferably into a sharps container).
- If little or no improvement after 5 minutes, consider further adrenaline doses.
NOTE: Adrenaline is fast acting, but also has a relatively short half-life (meaning it wears off quickly). Consider the need for subsequent doses after approximately 5 minutes. This is why most known anaphylactics’ tend to carry at least 2 EpiPens’ with them at all times.