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How to Use an Epinephrine Auto-Injector

​​Medical providers can prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector for a child at risk of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Epinephrine is a life-saving drug that treats the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis by stopping the airway from swelling.

There are several different autoinjectors available – Mylan EpiPen and Mylan Generic, Auvi-Q and Adrenaclick. These autoinjectors have different steps for use. While autoinjectors are designed to be easy to use, parents and caregivers who may need to use one on a child should be trained by a medical provider at least once a year.

When using an autoinjector, remember to follow the instructions printed on the package. 

Here is a summary of the steps:

Instructions for EpiPen:

  1. Take the epinephrine auto-injector out of its package.
  2. Remove the safety cap. 
  3. Hold the auto-injector in your fist. The needle comes out of one end, so be careful not to hold your hand over the end.
  4. Push the end with the needle firmly against the side of the child's thigh, about halfway between the hip and knee. Inject the medicine into the fleshy outer portion of the thigh. Do not inject into a vein or the buttocks.
  5. You can give the injection through clothes or on bare skin.
  6. Hold the auto-injector in place until all the medicine is injected—usually no more than 10 seconds. 
  7. Remove the needle by pulling the pen straight out. A protective shield will cover the needle as soon as it is removed from the thigh. Put the injector back into its safety tube. Give it to EMS when they arrive.
  8. Massage the area after the injection.​

​Instructions for Auvi-Q

  1. Pull Auvi-Q out of the case.
  2. Pull the red safety guard off – the needle will come out of the black end.
  3. Place the black end firmly against the side of the child's thigh, about halfway between the hip and knee. Inject the medicine into the fleshy outer portion of the thigh. Do not inject into a vein or the buttocks. Hold the leg firmly in place before and during the injection.
  4. You can give the injection through clothes or on bare skin.
  5. Hold the auto-injector in place for the 2 second countdown.
  6. Remove the needle by pulling the Auvi-Q straight out. A protective shield will cover the needle as soon as it is removed from the thigh. Put the Auvi-Q back into its case. Give it to EMS when they arrive.
  7. Massage the area after the injection.

Instructions for the Adrenaclick

  1. Pull off the gray caps off both ends. The needle will come out of the red tip.
  2. Place the red tip firmly against the side of the child's thigh, about halfway between the hip and knee. Inject the medicine into the fleshy outer portion of the thigh. Do not inject into a vein or the buttocks. Hold the leg firmly in place before and during the injection.
  3. You can give the injection through clothes or on bare skin.
  4. Hold the auto-injector in place for 10 seconds.
  5. Remove the needle by pulling the Adrenaclick straight out. If the needle is exposed, then the dose was given. If the needle is not exposed, repeat steps 2-4.
  6. Put the Adrenaclick back into its case. Give it to EMS when they arrive.
  7. Massage the area after the injection.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
4/3/2018
Source
Adapted from Pediatrics First Aid for Caregivers And Teachers (PedFACTs), 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2013 Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC, an Ascend Learning Company, and the American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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