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Adrenaline auto-injectors: updated advice after European review

The MHRA have issued updated advice on adrenaline auto-injectors to recommend that 2 adrenaline auto-injectors are prescribed, which patients should carry at all times.

Advice for healthcare professionals:

  • it is recommended that 2 adrenaline auto-injectors are prescribed, which patients should carry at all times
  • ensure that people with allergies and their carers have been trained to use the particular auto-injector that they have been prescribed—technique varies between injectors
  • encourage people with allergies and their carers to obtain and practise using a trainer device (available for free from the manufacturers’ websites)

Advice to give to people with allergies and their carers:

  • it is recommended that you carry 2 adrenaline auto-injectors at all times; this is particularly important for people who also have allergic asthma because they are at increased risk of a severe anaphylactic reaction
  • use the adrenaline auto-injector at the first signs of a severe allergic reaction
  • take the following actions immediately after every use of an adrenaline auto-injector:
    1. call 999, ask for an ambulance and state “anaphylaxis”, even if symptoms are improving
    2. lie flat with legs raised to maintain blood flow. However, if you have breathing difficulties, you may need to sit up to make breathing easier
    3. seek help immediately after using the auto-injector and if at all possible make sure someone stays with you while waiting for the ambulance
    4. if you do not start to feel better, use the second auto-injector 5–15 minutes after the first one
  • check the expiry date of the adrenaline auto-injectors and obtain replacements before they expire; expired injectors will be less effective

For more information, please see the MHRA Drug Safety Update website.

Drug Safety Update volume 11 issue 1, August 2017: 3.