Adrenaline (epinephrine)

There is one drug, which will work against all the effects of all the dangerous substances released in anaphylaxis. It is adrenaline. For serious attacks, it is a vital treatment that must be administered quickly. Adrenaline must be administered via an injection and cannot be taken by mouth.

Adrenaline (epinephrine) auto injectors (EpiPen®) are safe and effective management of anaphylaxis. People who have had a prior episode of anaphylaxis often have prescribed medication including adrenaline in the form of an autoinjector and the early administration of adrenaline is the priority in the emergency treatment.

The common form of this drug is the self-injecting EpiPen.  These contain single-use doses of adrenaline for the treatment of anaphylaxis. There are two adrenaline doses available via the EpiPen. The adult EpiPen is for children over 5 years old and for teenagers and adults. The junior EpiPen is for children under 5 years of age.

  • The EpiPen® should be stored in a cool dry place at room temperature, DO NOT store EpiPens® in a refrigerator
  • EpiPens® have a shelf life of approximately 1 to 2 years from the date of manufacture
  • The expiry date needs to be marked on a calendar and replaced prior to this date
  • A used EpiPen® is a sharp and should be handled and disposed off in the same manner as any other needle
  • An expired EpiPen® is better than no EpiPen®.