EpiPen Auto Injector (Epinephrine) Dosage and Side Effects
EPIPEN is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by foods, insect bites, and other allergens. EPIPEN is also used in emergencies known as asystole, during which the heart stops beating, and to treat exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
Proper Use of this medication
Most automatic injection devices contain enough medication for one dose of typically 0.15 milligrams (mg) or 0.3 mg.
You should inject EPIPEN as needed at the first sign of a serious allergic reaction. Always follow the directions on your prescription label.
Don't take larger or smaller amounts of EPIPEN than are recommended.
The medicine can be injected through clothing if needed in an emergency.
However, it should only be injected in the middle of the outer side of the thigh. (The goal of injection is to deliver the EPIPEN into muscle tissue.)
Do not inject EPIPEN into the buttocks or any other part of your body.
After using an auto-injector, some EPIPEN may still remain in the device. This is typical and doesn't mean you did not receive a full dose.
Do not inject any remaining solution.
Symptoms of an overdose include the following:
- Chest pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Severe headache
If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of EPIPEN
EPIPEN is typically used only as needed in an emergency, so you are unlikely to be on a dosing schedule or miss a dose of this medicine.
You should not repeat doses of this drug without your doctor's advice.
When you receive emergency medical care after injecting EPIPEN, tell the doctor or nurse if you experience any of the following side effects:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Pounding, fast, or irregular heartbeat
- Pale skin
- Nervousness, anxiety, or restlessness
- Uncontrollable shaking
Warnings and Precautions
EPIPEN can help treat a serious allergic reaction, but it doesn't take the place of medical care.
You should seek emergency medical treatment immediately after you inject the medication.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or any thyroid disorder
- Parkinson's disease
- Depression or another mental illness
If you use an auto-injector such as EpiPen, tell your doctor if you have arthritis or difficulty using your hands.
Also tell your doctor if you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking one within the past two weeks.
Elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of EPIPEN.
These patients must monitor their symptoms and responses to the drug carefully.
EPIPEN may make you dizzy.
You should not drive, operate machinery, or perform any activity that requires alertness until you are certain you can do so safely.
Keep your EpiPen auto-injector with you at all times, so you can use it as soon as you experience signs of a serious allergic reaction.
Talk to your doctor about the signs and symptoms of a reaction, which may include:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Closing of the airways
- Swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
- Redness of the skin
- Fast heartbeat
- Weak pulse
- Stomach pain or vomiting
- Losing of bowel control or diarrhea
- Dizziness, faintness, or loss of consciousness
When using the injection device, don't put your thumb, fingers, or hand over the needle area.
If you accidentally inject EPIPEN into your fingers, hands, toes, or feet, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Be aware of the expiration date stamped on your auto-injector, and replace the device when appropriate.
Look at the solution in the device, too: If it's discolored or contains particles, tell your doctor, so you can get a new one.
Do not refrigerate this medication or leave it in your car, especially during cold or hot weather.
If you drop the auto-injector, check to see if it's broken or leaking.
Pregnancy and EPIPEN
EPIPEN might cause harm to an unborn baby.
It's not known whether EPIPEN passes into breast milk or could harm a breastfeeding baby.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, might become pregnant, or are breastfeeding before using EPIPEN.
Interactions with this medication
You should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal and recreational drugs; herbal remedies; and nutritional and dietary supplements you're taking, especially:
- Antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), maprotiline (Ludiomil), mirtazapine (Remeron), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil)
- Antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine (Atarax)
- Beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal) or metoprolol (Lopressor)
- Digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin)
- Diuretics (often called "water pills")
- Ergot medications, such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergoloid mesylates (Hydergine), ergonovine (Ergotrate), ergotamine (in Cafergot and Migergot), methylergonovine (Methergine), and methysergide (Sansert)
- Levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid)
- Medications for irregular heartbeat, such as quinidine
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.