Learn About EpiPen and Its Side Effects

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Side Effects of the EpiPen

written by: Harry Sylvester • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 3/14/2011

Do you want to know about EpiPen side effects? Learn a basic description of the EpiPen and side effects that might occur.

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    What Is the EpiPen?

    The EpiPen is a medical device with an auto-injector system that features a spring-loaded needle and contains the active ingredient of adrenaline or epinephrine. The human body actively produces adrenaline, which is a natural hormone and neurotransmitter. The adrenal glands excrete adrenaline especially when you are under stress. This device is designed for self-administration of adrenaline in emergencies, especially for those who have no medical training.

    Adrenaline in the EpiPen allows your body to get prepared to face allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock resulting from dangerous allergic reactions like insect bites or stings, drugs, or foods. The medication works well to help you breathe normally; relieve tightness in the chest; reduce swollen mouth, tongue, or lips; and stimulate the heartbeat. The EpiPen is obtainable in two strengths: EpiPen for adults delivers 0.3mg of adrenaline, and EpiPen Jr for children delivers 0.15mg of adrenaline. However, you must consult your doctor before taking this medicine because it is a prescription drug. The doctor will let you know how and when to administer it, such as via injection to the fleshy, outer portion of the thigh instead of a vein.

    Despite being imperative to save lives, this medication poses several side effects with which you cannot live.

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    Increased Heart Rate or Blood Pressure

    Increased heart rate and arrhythmia is possible for those who have applied the medication to treat cardiac arrest. An arrhythmia is an irregular condition in which heart rhythms can beat too fast or too slow. In addition, cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding inside the brain) resulting from rapid increase in blood pressure might occur in seniors with cardiovascular disease after taking this drug. For those with coronary artery disease, this medicine might cause chest pain (angina).

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    Metabolic Acidosis

    Extended use of adrenaline can result in metabolic acidosis, which is a condition occurring when there is too much acid in the body fluids. The blood concentrations of lactic acid increase significantly in this case.

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    Pulmonary Edema

    Pulmonary edema is fluid accumulation that collects in the various air sacs in the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing. This medicine might cause severe asthmatic attacks in some people.

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    Nervous System Disturbance

    The prolonged use of adrenaline might result in nervous system disturbance such as anxiety, apprehension, nervousness, tiredness, tenseness, excitability, restlessness, agitation, fear, and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease including tremor.

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    Acute Renal Failure

    Researchers have found that higher doses of adrenaline can raise the risk of having acute renal failure in persons who have experienced cardiac arrest during resuscitative efforts. For those with cardiac disease, the administration of this drug seems difficult as they are less revivable but need more adrenaline. This condition is inclined to give worse outcomes like acute renal failure. It has been proven that persons with acute renal failure have a low chance of survival.

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    Increased Levels of Blood Sugar

    If you have diabetes, keep in mind that adrenaline can reduce the amount of insulin in the body. This condition might boost blood sugar levels. It is recommended that you check your blood sugar regularly.

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    References

    Epipen.com - http://www.epipen.com/

    Drugs.com: EpiPen Side Effects - http://www.drugs.com/sfx/epipen-side-effects.html

    Netdoctor.co.uk: EpiPen (Adrenaline) - http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100000940.html

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