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

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