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Adrenaline Auto-Injectors

New BSACI Guidelines on prescribing an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI) were published on the 29th September 2016. Find out more information and read our statement here.

Adrenaline auto injector devices (or ‘adrenaline pens’) are prescribed to people with allergies who are at risk of having a severe allergic reaction (known as ‘anaphylaxis’). Your GP or allergy doctor will take an allergy history, and determine your individual risk, based on several factors in determining whether to prescribe you with an adrenaline auto injector device.

If you have been prescribed an adrenaline auto injector, ensure you carry it with you at all times. Do not rely on someone else picking it up for you, or there being one available. Education tailored to children on managing their adrenaline auto injector is a positive way of teaching the importance of carrying one at all times.

Your GP or allergy doctor should discuss how to recognise the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, and how to use your adrenaline auto injector device. Having family, friends, teachers and colleagues that also know how and when to give you your adrenaline auto injector device is important, should you be unable to do this yourself.

There are three types of adrenaline auto injectors available in the UK. All deliver ‘adrenaline’ (also referred to as ‘epinephrine’). All types are prescription only medicines, and need to be prescribed by a GP or Allergy specialist. The dose of adrenaline required is dependent on the age and weight of the person requiring the adrenaline auto injector device, and will be prescribed by the doctor. Each adrenaline auto injector device will differ in appearance and the availability of the dose/strength available in that particular brand.

Key message: The way each device is used is different, so it is important that you are shown how to use your device.

 

Having a trainer (dummy) device is a useful tool for practicing how to use your adrenaline auto injector and to teach others how to use it how it needs to be used varies from brand to brand. Having an Allergy action plan is advisable a paediatric (child) action plan is available for the three types of adrenaline auto injector devices and can be downloaded and completed by your doctor from the following web site link http://www.bsaci.org/about/download-paediatric-allergy-action-plans

The brands of adrenaline auto injectors available for use in the UK are:

Auto-adrenaline injector brand  Website  Company
 Emerade www.emerade-bausch.co.uk  Bausch & Lomb
 Epipen www.epipen.co.uk  MEDA Pharmaceuticals
 Jext www.jext.co.uk  ALK-ABELLO UK

 

Care of your adrenaline auto adrenaline injector:

  • Should be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, kept out of direct sunlight and out of the way of extreme temperatures, for example a fridge, or glovebox in a car on a hot day
  • Keep out of the reach of small children, but not locked away or hard to access if needed
  • All adrenaline auto injectors come with an expiry date. Keep an eye on the expiry dates and set a reminder several weeks before it is due to expire, to ensure you have enough time to obtain a prescription for a new device
  • Adrenaline auto injectors should not be re-used and once used should be replaced as soon as possible.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises people prescribed with an adrenaline auto injector should always carry two, in case of emergency.

Having two auto adrenaline injectors is beneficial for multiple situations including:

  • If the first dose is not effective in managing symptoms, and a second dose is required
  • The adrenaline auto injector is administered accidentally (there have been cases where the person providing first aid has accidentally injected themselves, resulting in the person having an anaphylactic reaction not getting the adrenaline)
  • Where there is a delay in reaching hospital, and a second dose is required.

Always keep your pens with you, and always call an ambulance if you have used your adrenaline pen.

Adrenaline is a short-acting drug and the effects will wear off quite quickly. It is very likely that further treatment will be required. All patients receiving emergency adrenaline should immediately be transported to hospital. Dial 999 and inform the controller that the patient is suffering from anaphylaxis. See our factsheet Anaphylaxis and Severe Allergic Reactions.

 

Last updated: July 2016    Next review date: July 2019                                                                              
Version 12
 

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