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How to Use an EpiPen

Administer Epinephrine to Stop Anaphylaxis


Updated May 01, 2014

Epinephrine stops anaphylaxis very nicely. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated quickly and properly, and epinephrine is the first line of defense. Many patients of anaphylaxis carry automatic injectors of epinephrine -- the most common brand is an EpiPen -- in case of an anaphylactic reaction.

Depending on laws in your state and the level of training a first aid provider has, it may be permissible for a first aid provider to administer an EpiPen to a victim of anaphylaxis. The EpiPen must already be prescribed to the patient in order for it to be used.

1. Remove the EpiPen

Taking out an EpiPen
(c) Melanie Martinez
Unscrew the yellow cap from the container and slide out the EpiPen.

2. Remove the Gray Safety Cap

Remove the gray safety cap from the back of the EpiPen
(c) Melanie Martinez
Take off the gray safety cap from the back of the EpiPen. It won't work unless this cap is removed.

3. Inject the Epinephrine

Inject the EpiPen into the thigh - right through clothes
(c) Melanie Martinez
Grasp the EpiPen in a fist and press the black, rounded tip hard into the thigh. Hold the EpiPen in place while slowly counting to 10. The pen can inject right through clothing.

4. Call 911 and Discard the EpiPen

Throw a used EpiPen away in a sharps container
(c) Melanie Martinez
Once the EpiPen is used, call 911. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition, and using epinephrine is only a temporary fix. It may be necessary to give a second dose of epinephrine.

The EpiPen now must be properly discarded. The ambulance crew will be able to throw the used EpiPen away in their sharps container, or you may need to discard it in its original container.

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