MHRA advises on correct procedures for the use of adrenaline auto-injectors

The MHRA has issued advice for patients and healthcare professionals regarding the use of adrenaline auto-injectors following a review of all of the devices available in the UK. Strengthened warnings have been added to the relevant product literature as a result.

An intramuscular injection of adrenaline in the outer thigh is the treatment of choice for an anaphylactic reaction | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An intramuscular injection of adrenaline in the outer thigh is the treatment of choice for an anaphylactic reaction | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Advice for patients

The MHRA recommends that patients at risk of anaphylaxis who are prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector should carry two with them at all times and should inject themselves at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction.

Patients (and carers) should be advised that after every use of an adrenaline auto-injector they should:

  • seek help and call an ambulance immediately, even if symptoms are improving
  • lie down with their legs raised in order to maintain blood flow (sit up in case of breathing difficulties)
  • use a second auto-injector five to 15 minutes after the first if they are not starting to feel better

Patients and/or carers should check the expiry date of auto-injectors regularly and replace them when necessary as devices that have expired will be less effective.

Injection technique varies between products

Healthcare professionals are reminded that injection techniques vary between the different auto-injectors and are advised to ensure patients and carers have been trained to use the particular device they have been prescribed. Patients and carers should also be encouraged to practise using a trainer device — these can be obtained free-of-charge from the relevant manufacturers.

View adrenaline auto-injector drug records

Follow MIMS on Twitter

Sign up for MIMS bulletins

MIMS Clinics

Prescribing news and resources for key therapeutic areas, collated by the MIMS editors.

Register or Subscribe to MIMS

GPs can get MIMS print & online and GPonline for free when they register online – take 2 minutes, and make sure you get your free MIMS access! If you're not a GP, you can subscribe to MIMS for full access.

Register or subscribe

MIMS bulletins

News and updates straight to your inbox.

Prescribing Update: Fortnightly news bulletin
Alert:
Urgent prescribing updates
Spotlight: Disease-themed monthly round-up

Sign me up

MIMS Dermatology

Read the latest issue online exclusively on MIMS Learning.

Read MIMS Dermatology

Mobile apps

MIMS: access the full drug database and quick-reference tables on the go

MIMS Diagnosis and Management: concise information on signs and symptoms, investigations and diseases

Promo Image

Clinical calculators

Handy calculators and conversions for primary care.