Adrenaline auto-injectors are used to treat breathing problems or when the child feels faint (severe allergy - anaphylaxis).

They do not need to be used when the only symptoms are hives or swelling, even if it involves the face.

There are currently three adrenaline auto-injectors on the market. They all contain exactly the same medication. They are made by different manufacturers and work in slightly different ways.

Please click the image to view the video

Emerade

EpiPen

JEXT

The dose depends on how old your child is and how much they weigh.

  • For children less than 30 kilograms a 0.15mg device is prescribed.
  • For older children a 0.3mg device in more appropriate.
  • For adults and obese children Emerade produce a 0.5mg device, which might be prescribed.

Tips to remember

The effects of the adrenaline may only last 5 – 10 minutes and therefore any child who had been given adrenaline must be seen in the Emergency Department straight away.

Everyone who has an adrenaline auto-injector should be shown how to use it each time it is prescribed. “Dummy” pens without a needle are available for practice. You can get one from your doctor or from the company website. Click here to view the videos of how to use these pens.

The Department of Health now recommend that all patients are prescribed with two adrenaline auto-injectors, which should be available at all times. The North West Paediatric Allergy Network recommend that two adrenaline auto-injectors are prescribed and are carried in an allergy treatment pack and kept with the child. This is in preference to having replicate packs at different sites, which may get lost or be out of date. It is uncommon to need more than one adrenaline injection to treat an allergic reaction. The most common reason for needing an extra auto-injector is failure to use it in a timely and effective manner. Thus all carers should receive adequate training and should have access to a trainer pen to practice with.

Devices should be in an easily accessible place that everyone at home knows about. In school the pens should be in an unlocked area which the child knows well. Some older children may carry the pens themselves.

Recent legislation in the UK now allows schools to purchase extra auto-injectors. These supplement, but do not replace the need for children to have their own pens and consent to be documented allowing their use.

For link to AllergyWise anaphylaxis training for families and carers of preschool children provided by the Anaphylaxis Campaign click here