What is EpiPen?

Agueda Hernandez, MD
Family Medicine
Allergic reactions to foods have become the most common cause of anaphylaxis -- the rapid, whole-body onset of symptoms tied to an allergic reaction that can be fatal. To treat anaphylaxis, adults and children carry an EpiPen, an auto-injector containing epinephrine that acts quickly to reduce swelling and improve breathing.
EpiPen is a brand name for an automatic injection device that delivers a dose epinephrine. This is used to treat allergic reactions to insect bites, foods, latex or other products that are severe enough to be life-threatening (like anaphylaxis). Symptoms of these allergic reactions include: trouble breathing, swelling, low blood pressure and rash. Epinephrine works by narrowing blood vessels and relaxing the airways, and is part of a class of drugs called sympathomimetic agents.