Anapen and Anapen Junior injections both contain the active ingredient adrenaline, which is a hormone produced naturally by the body. It is given by injection to treat a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock. (NB. Adrenaline is also sometimes referred to as epinephrine.)
Adrenaline is released by the adrenal glands in times of stress. It prepares the body when extra energy or exertion is needed, making the body more able to deal with life-threatening situations.
Anaphylatic shock is a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by a drug or food allergy, or by an insect bite. A severe reaction of this type can include the following symptoms: itching of the skin, a raised rash (like a nettle rash), swelling of your lips, tongue, throat, hands and feet, flushing, weak pulse, tightening of the chest, difficulty in breathing, fall in blood pressure and in some cases loss of consciousness.
Adrenaline reverses the symptoms of anaphylaxis by acting on alpha and beta adrenergic receptors in the body.
Alpha receptors are found on the walls of blood vessels. When adrenaline stimulates these receptors this causes the blood vessels to narrow, which stops the blood pressure from falling too low. It also redirects blood to vital organs like the heart and brain.
Beta receptors are found in the heart and lungs. When adrenaline stimulates these receptors this relaxes and opens the airways, making breathing easier. It also stimulates the heart, making it beat faster and stronger.
Adrenaline also relieves itching, hives and swelling.
Anapen injections are prescribed to people who have a history or recognised risk of going into anaphylactic shock due to an allergy. The Anapen is intended for self-administration in an emergency and should be carried with you at all times.
The Anapen is designed to be used by people with no medical training. Your doctor will teach you how and when to use it. First you need to remove the black needle cap that covers the needle and the black safety cap that covers the red firing button. The Anapen should then be held against the outer thigh while you press the red firing button. This pushes the hidden needle into the thigh muscle and delivers a dose of adrenaline. The pen should be held firmly in the thigh for 10 seconds. The Anapen can be injected through clothes.
The Anapen is designed as emergency treatment only. You should always seek medical help immediately after using it in case further treatment is needed.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, when you are prescribed this medicine, so they can check that the combination is safe.
There may be an increased risk of side effects on the heart if this injection is used by people taking any of the following medicines:
Adrenaline can decrease the amount of insulin produced by the body; this can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should therefore carefully monitor their blood sugar after using this medicine.