Injuries from Epinephrine Auto-Injectors on the Rise

“Preventable Injuries from Life-Saving Epinephrine Auto-Injectors on the Rise” is a study published this month in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) and released last week.

The below is from the study and press release:

Systematically reviewing 26 reports published in peer-reviewed journals during the past 20 years, F. Estelle R. Simons, M.D., Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and colleagues in the United States, found that most of the 69 incidents of unintentional injection of epinephrine reported to date in the medical literature have occurred during the past 6 years.

The true rate of occurrence of unintentional injection of epinephrine from auto-injectors is unknown, but the authors note that the previously projected rate of 1 in 50,000 injections has been seriously underestimated.

“An increased rate of occurrence is likely, paralleling the increased rate of occurrence of anaphylaxis in the community and the increased dispensing rates for epinephrine auto-injectors,” they stated.

Although approximately 10 percent of the injuries occurred while first aid treatment was being administered to another person, no information about the outcomes of anaphylaxis in the person for whom the epinephrine was intended was found in the articles reviewed.

The researchers therefore note that additional information is needed “about the lost dose hazard and its implications for anaphylaxis morbidity or mortality and about the indications for, and timing of, a second injection of epinephrine in this situation.”

Authors conclude, “Health care professionals should maintain vigilance about training and regular coaching of those at risk for anaphylaxis in the community and the caregivers of children at risk in the correct and safe use of epinephrine auto-injectors, ideally at yearly intervals.”

Patient information on allergic diseases including the free brochure, titled Be S.A.F.E Managing Allergic Emergencies (Anaphylaxis), is available by calling the ACAAI toll free number at (800) 842-7777 or visiting its Web site at For food allergy patient information or support, call the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) at (800) 929-4040 or visit online at

Have you gotten training on how to use your epi? Have you trained your loved ones on how to help you in an emergency?


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