- Side Effects
- Patient Information Leaflet
What is EpiPen
EpiPen is a famous brand of adrenaline auto injectors (AAI), designed to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis. Although some allergic reactions can be simply uncomfortable or unsightly as a result of mild swelling or a rash, anaphylactic shock can be far more severe. It occurs when your immune system overreacts to an innocuous substance such as food or medication, but it can also happen as a result of insect stings, exercise or exposure to latex. The EpiPen administers a single dose of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, to control symptoms of shock and get the sufferer out of harm's way.
Can I buy EpiPen online?
Yes, you can buy EpiPen online from our UK pharmacy. EpiPen comes in 2 strengths: EpiPen 0.3mg & EpiPen Jr 0.15mg. You can purchase it online in packs of either 1 or 2 pens. Click Pharmacy stocks both EpiPen & EpiPen Jr. You will need to complete a short medical assessment so our prescriber can issue a prescription. You will only pay for the EpiPen cost and no extra charges for issuing the prescription.
Once a prescription is issued, you will be able to order EpiPen online anytime and have them sent directly to your home quickly and in discreet packaging through Royal Mail 1st class or for fast delivery, you can opt for next-day delivery service.
How effective is EpiPen?
EpiPen auto injector is a life saving medication for people who experience anaphylaxis. It is highly effective and provides immediate relief from anaphylactic shock, severe allergic reactions and symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing within minutes. The medicine in EpiPen works directly on the cardiovascular and respiratory system by making the blood vessels smaller and relaxing the muscles in the lungs to improve the breathing process, stimulating the heart and reducing swelling.
How does EpiPen work?
When you experience anaphylactic shock, the chemicals that flood your system in response to the allergen cause the blood pressure to drop and the airways to narrow, resulting in difficulty breathing. The adrenalin administered via the EpiPen auto injectors works to counteract this potentially fatal reaction by first constricting blood vessels to reduce swelling and increase blood pressure. It also relaxes the lungs and throat, making breathing easier and, stopping any further release of chemicals and preventing the reaction from continuing.
What dose should I choose?
The ideal dose of adrenaline depends on your body weight, and your GP will prescribe it to you. EpiPen delivers a single dose of 0.3mg of adrenaline and is for a person weighing over 25kg (3 stone - 13lbs). EpiPen Jr. has a dose of 0.15 mg and is intended for children weighing between 7.5 to 25kg (1 stone – 3lbs to 3 stone – 13lbs).
In case of a life-threatening allergic reaction, or if the patient's condition worsens, it may be necessary to administer more than one shot of EpiPen five to fifteen minutes after the first. If you suffer from severe allergies ensure you have access to two auto injectors in case of an immediate medical attention as 35% of patients may require more than one adrenaline dose.
How should I use an EpiPen?
If your doctor prescribes an EpiPen, ensure you fully understand its reason and the symptoms of anaphylaxis. You should know precisely how and when to use it. Carefully learn how to use an EpiPen. EpiPen is designed in a way that people without medical training can even administer it. Adrenalin is supplied in a pen-shaped applicator with an enclosed needle.
To administer the epinephrine, the patient should be in a comfortable position or lie flat. People having breathing difficulty should sit up straight, and pregnant women should lie on their left side. Remove the blue safety release from the EpiPen. Jab the orange side of the EpiPen from about 10 centimetres with the right angle into your mid-outer thigh muscle, through clothes if necessary. Once it clicks, hold it in place for a full 3 seconds.
You should immediately seek medical help after administering the EpiPen by dialling 999. Ask for an ambulance and state anaphylaxis. If required, you may need to go to the hospital for further observation and treatment, as about 20% of patients will develop a biphasic anaphylactic response many hours later. For more detailed instructions on how to use the adrenaline auto injector, follow the guidelines that come with your device or watch this video on how to use an EpiPen.
When do I use EpiPen?
You should use EpiPen when experiencing symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. In the event of an anaphylactic reaction, every second counts, so a quick response is vital. If you have experienced anaphylactic reactions in the past, you may have been prescribed an adrenaline auto injector. An immediate first-line treatment for medical emergency use, the device is pre-filled with the adrenaline required to treat severe allergic reactions. Conveniently, the medicine can be self-injected or injected by a carer or a family member and should take effect immediately. This means you do not have to wait for an ambulance to arrive to treat the problem. However, it is advisable to call emergency services whenever anaphylactic shock strikes.
Can you use EpiPen while pregnant?
According to EpiPen manufacturers, epinephrine should be administered only in a situation when not doing so could cause more damage to the mother and baby than doing so. There is limited research in this area, but since the anaphylactic shock is dangerous for the unborn baby and the mother, keeping and using an EpiPen auto injector for extreme situations is essential.
Speak to your GP or a Pharmacist at Click Pharmacy to discuss any concerns you may have.
How to store EpiPen?
You must store the EpiPen correctly to ensure you receive the full benefit of your epinephrine upon administration. The following are recommendations as to how to store your medication optimally:
- Do not refrigerate
- Store at room temperature below 25°C
- Keep away from sunlight
- Do not store in a car during hot or cold weather
- Keep the EpiPen in its carrier tube
- Make sure the medicine is clear and colourless
What are the side effects of EpiPen?
Like all medicines, the EpiPen auto injector may cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them. Within five to 10 minutes of taking this medication, you may experience one or more of the following:
Heart palpitations, dizziness, anxiety, tremors, headache, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, paleness, hypertension, sweating, weakness, nervousness, apprehension, vomiting or nausea. A rare side effect is Cardiomyopathy, which may affect 1 in 1000 patients treated with adrenaline.
EpiPen auto injector contains sodium metabisulphite (E223), which may rarely cause severe allergic reactions (hypersensitivity) or breathing difficulty.
Most drugs have some kind of side effect, and though uncommon, it is necessary to be aware of them to know what to do if they occur. If you experience any of the above and/or any other issue resulting from the EpiPen, it is important not to panic, as these side effects usually pass quickly with rest. If the side effect is more extreme, contact your doctor immediately or call 999.
Side effects can last longer in patients with high blood pressure and thyroid conditions, so use an EpiPen auto injector with caution in these situations.
If you are concerned about possible side effects, consult your doctor for advice or get in touch with one of our pharmacists at Click Pharmacy.
Can I buy an EpiPen over the counter in the UK?
EpiPen auto injector is a prescription-only medication in the UK. You can buy EpiPen from any UK pharmacy if you have a valid prescription or our prescriber can prescribe it after you have filled out a short medical assessment and paid the EpiPen cost as per our website.
Alternatives to EpiPen
EpiPen and Jext auto-injectors are two different brands of adrenaline auto injectors available in the UK to treat severe allergic reactions. Both contain the same medicine, come in the exact dosage of 0.3mg and 0.15mg and serve the same purpose, but their mechanism is slightly different. After jabbing it into the thigh, you need to hold the EpiPen for 3 seconds. To use Jext auto-injector, you need to keep the injector in place for 10 seconds and, after removing it, massage the injected area for 10 seconds.
EpiPen 300mcg is appropriate for people above 25kg, and EpiPen Jr is for those weighing between 7.5 to 25kg. On the other hand, Jext 300mcg is for patients above 30kg and Jext 150mcg is designed for patients who weigh between 15 to 30kg.
EpiPen For Children
EpiPen Jr is specifically designed to treat severe allergic reactions in children and delivers a smaller dose of 0.15mg of adrenaline. It is suitable for children weighing between 7.5 to 25kg. The process of administering EpiPen Jr is exactly similar to EpiPen. There is no visible needle to help overcome the fear of injection. By the age 12 – 14, most doctors expect the children to be able to use an EpiPen. Ask your child to practice with an EpiPen Training Device similar to EpiPEn Jr but has no needle or medicine.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis usually starts with normal allergic reactions, including skin rash, runny nose or itchiness in the eyes or face. Within 30 minutes, more severe symptoms appear, which may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest tightness
- Abdominal pain
- Chest tightness
If you notice symptoms, immediately get medical help or use your adrenaline auto injector. Without the treatment or any delay may cause more severe, life-threatening anaphylaxis symptoms:
- Drop in blood pressure
- weak pulse or confusion
- Sudden weakness
- Increased heart rate
What is the difference between EpiPen and EpiPen Jr?
EpiPen Jr is formulated for young children weighing less than 25kg. Any child weighing above 25kg should use an EpiPen.
When should I inject an EpiPen?
An EpiPen should be injected at the first sign of any known or suspected severe allergic reaction to prevent life threatening issues.
How long should I hold the EpiPen in place for?
In order to rightly deliver your dose, EpiPen should be firmly held in place for 3 seconds.
How should I inject my EpiPen?
Place the orange tip perpendicular to the outer thigh, push the auto-injector until you hear a click, the click signals activation of the EpiPen
Can I inject an EpiPen through my clothes?
Yes, if necessary.
What should I do if I accidentally open the safety cap?
Opening the blue safety cap signals for activation of the EpiPen, therefore it should be discarded.
If for some reason the EpiPen has not been activated, even after removing the safety cap, the needle can be gently placed back into its carrier tube and securely fastened using the blue safety cap.
What should I do if the liquid in my EpiPen begins to discolour?
The liquid in your EpiPen should always be clear and colourless. Immediately replace your EpiPen if you see any signs of:
- Discoloured liquid
- Damage or leakage
- Solid precipitate
Can I travel with my EpiPen?
It is vital to always have your EpiPen with you when travelling.
Airlines often require you to previously provide a letter of notice, if you are expected to be carrying an EpiPen with you.