The EpiPen is a life-saving medication used when someone is undergoing a severe allergic reaction. The EpiPen contains a dose of adrenaline that should only be used in an emergency.
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What is an EpiPen?

An EpiPen is an emergency injection that is to be used for the treatment of a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock). An allergic reaction may be caused by insect bites or stings, foods, drugs or exercise. However, sometimes the cause is unknown. 

How does it work?

An EpiPen contains the adrenergic drug, adrenaline, which is injected into the outer part of the thigh muscle when an anaphylactic shock occurs. Adrenaline works directly on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to quickly make blood vessels smaller, relax the muscles in the lungs for improved breathing, reduce swelling, and stimulate heartbeat. These can all be fatal effects of an allergic reaction.

Is an EpiPen suitable for me?

The EpiPen is intended for immediate self-administration by a person with a history or recognised risk of going into anaphylactic shock. If you are at risk, you should always keep your EpiPen with you. It is designed as an emergency rescue therapy but you must get medical attention as soon as possible after its use.

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Side Effects

All medications can cause potential side effects, below we have listed some potential side effects, however, these do not always occur.

Seek urgent medical advice immediately in case of accidental injection. Accidental injection of the pens in hands or fingers have been reported and may result in lack of blood supply to these areas. 

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side effects occur or worsen.

  • Irregular heartbeat (including palpitations and rapid heartbeats),
  • High blood pressure, 
  • Sweating, 
  • Nausea, 
  • Vomiting,
  • Difficulty breathing, 
  • Paleness, 
  • Headache,
  • Hypertension, 
  • Dizziness, 
  • Weakness, 
  • Tremor and apprehension, 
  • Nervousness or anxiety.

Disclaimer: This website does not constitute as medical advice, you should also consult with a doctor before taking medication. If you experience any major reactions to any medication you are taking, you must seek immediate medical attention.


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Commonly Used Dosage Guidelines for EpiPen.

The dose will be decided by your doctor who will adjust it accordingly for you.

  • The usual adult dose for allergic emergencies is 0.3 mg adrenaline for injection into muscle (intramuscular use). If you notice the signs of an acute allergic reaction, use the EpiPen immediately, through your clothing if necessary.
  • Each EpiPen Auto-injector delivers one single dose of 0.3 ml liquid which is equal to 0.3 mg (300 micrograms) adrenaline. After use a volume of 1.7 ml will remain in the Auto-injector but this cannot be reused.
  • Sometimes a single dose of adrenaline may not be sufficient to completely reverse the effects of a serious allergic reaction. For this reason, your doctor is likely to prescribe more than one EpiPen for you. If your symptoms have not improved or have deteriorated within 5-15 minutes after the first injection, either you or the person with you should give a second injection. For this reason you should carry more than one EpiPen with you at all times.

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. No information listed on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undergoing a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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How to use an EpiPen?

The EpiPen is designed to be used easily by people without medical training. EpiPen should simply be jabbed firmly against the outer portion of the thigh from a distance of approximately 10 cm (4 inches). There is no need for precise placement in the outer portion of the thigh.

When you jab the EpiPen firmly into your thigh, a spring activated plunger will be released, which the hidden needle into the thigh muscle and administers a dose of adrenaline. If you are wearing clothes the EpiPen® can be injected through the clothes.

The instructions for use of the EpiPen given below must be carefully followed. EpiPen should only be injected into the outer thigh. It should not be injected into the buttocks (your bottom).

Hold the EpiPen by the middle, never by the ends.

For proper administration, look at the diagrams and follow these steps:

– Never put thumb, fingers or hand over the orange tip.

– Do not remove blue safety cap until ready to use.

1.  Grasp EpiPen in dominant hand (the hand you use to write), with thumb nearest blue cap and form fist around unit (orange tip down)

2.  With other hand pull off blue safety cap.

3. Hold the EpiPen at a distance of approximately 10 cm away from the outer thigh. The orange tip should point towards the outer thigh.

4. Jab the EpiPen firmly into outer thigh at a right angle (90 degree angle) (listen for click).

5. Hold firmly against thigh for 3 seconds. The injection is now complete and the window on the autoinjector is obscured.

6. EpiPen should be removed (the orange needle cover will extend to cover needle) and safely discarded.

7. Dial 999, ask for ambulance, and state anaphylaxis.

What to do if you use more EpiPen than you should?

In case of overdose or accidental injection of the adrenaline, you should always seek immediate medical help. Your blood pressure may rise sharply and it will need to be monitored. If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine; ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

What should you do after using an EpiPen?

As the EpiPen is designed as emergency treatment only, you should always seek medical help immediately after using EpiPen by dialling 999, ask for ambulance and state ‘anaphylaxis’ even if symptoms appear to be improving. You will need to go to hospital for observation and further treatment as required. This is because the reaction may happen again at some time later. 

While waiting for the ambulance you should lie down with your feet raised unless this makes you breathless in which case you should sit up.

Ask someone to stay with you until the ambulance arrives in case you feel unwell again. Unconscious patients should be placed on their side in the recovery position.

Make sure that you inform the healthcare professional that you have received an intramuscular injection of adrenaline or show them the container and/or leaflet.

Can I use an EpiPen during pregnancy?

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.

There is limited experience of the use of adrenaline during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, do not hesitate to use EpiPen in an emergency, since you and your baby’s lives may be in danger. Discuss this with your doctor if you are pregnant.

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