Epinephrine is a type of medicine that increases blood flow to your muscles and stimulates other parts of your body to respond appropriately to frightful situations.
Epinephrine is a prescription-only medicine.
Epinephrine is useful in the treatment of many conditions. You may be given epinephrine:
- When you have severe forms of allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis, that could occur in response to an insect bite, consumption of some foods, medications, etc.
- When you have a heart attack to stimulate your heart muscles to keep pumping blood.
- When you are in shock and your blood pressure is really low, keeping you from passing out.
- When you have an asthmatic crisis, epinephrine is combined with other drugs to relax your lungs and open your airways.
Epinephrine, or more commonly, adrenaline, is a hormone and a drug. Your adrenal glands produce this hormone naturally to regulate your body’s instant response to stress or fearful events. It is useful in treating serious allergic responses to insect stings, food allergies, asthma or other substances. It relaxes the airways, improving breathing, increasing blood pressure and constricting blood vessels.
- Epinephrine comes in an injectable form and can be injected into your muscle or under your skin. You can also inhale epinephrine through the mouth.
- Your healthcare provider may give you an auto-injector to be used only once and teach you how to use it during an emergency.
- Get yourself in a comfortable position, remove the needle cap, expose your thigh or upper arm, and inject slowly by pushing the needle plunger till you hear a click sound, hold it for 2 seconds, remove the needle and dispose of it appropriately. You can ask your healthcare provider about how best to dispose of the needle.
- It would be best if you did not inject epinephrine in some parts of your body, especially your fingers, toes, nose and genitals, because it can make them lose their function.
Epinephrine may stimulate some unwanted effects in you; some of these side effects go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. Common side effects include:
- You may feel a headache or chest pain.
- You may experience double vision.
- You may want to vomit.
- You may sweat excessively.
Report any symptoms you feel while taking this medicine to your healthcare provider immediately, even if you feel they may be unrelated.
Before taking epinephrine, inform your healthcare provider of the following:
- Do not take this medicine if you have had a previous allergic reaction to epinephrine.
- Inform your healthcare provider if you have illnesses like heart disease or diabetes.
- Let your healthcare provider know of any medicines, supplements or herbs you currently take and whether they were prescribed.
- Inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or you are planning to get pregnant.