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About anaphylaxis treatment

We can offer a choice of two adrenaline auto-injectors to help keep you protected in case of anaphylaxis: Jext or EpiPen.

This service is only suitable if you’ve previously been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector and taught how to use it.

How do the treatments work?

Adrenaline auto-injectors work by administering a dose of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the body. The adrenaline helps to reduce the symptoms of anaphylaxis by causing blood vessels to narrow and by opening up the airways.

Need anaphylaxis treatment?

Clinical review within 2–24 hrs


At the first sign of a severe allergic reaction, you should follow the instructions for your auto-injector and inject the device into your outer thigh, through clothing if necessary.

Always dial 999 - say anaphylaxis (“ana-fill-axis”) – straight after using your auto-injector. You must go to hospital even if you start to feel better. Symptoms may get worse again.

Lie down and raise your legs. Sit up if you are struggling to breathe but don’t change position suddenly. Lie down again as soon as you can. Stay lying down even if you are feeling better. You must not stand up even if someone encourages you to.

Use your second auto-injector while waiting for the ambulance if you haven’t improved after 5 minutes.

Other medicines such as antihistamines and inhalers can be given as necessary.

What if I’m not sure I’m experiencing anaphylaxis?

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you’re having a severe allergic reaction. If in doubt, or your previous reactions have been severe, use the adrenaline auto-injector. Don’t delay.

What are the side effects of anaphylaxis treatment?

Side effects of anaphylaxis treatment could include:

  • A fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness, shakiness or headache

For the full information of a medicine’s side effects and how to take it, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.

How effective are anaphylaxis treatments?

Carry two auto-injectors with you at all times. Sometimes you may need to use two doses of adrenaline.

The effectiveness of this treatment depends on the adrenaline auto-injector being stored and administered correctly.

You should store your auto-injector out of direct sunlight and not above 25 °C. Do not refrigerate or freeze.

Check from time to time that the solution in the viewing window is clear and colourless. Replace the device if the solution is discoloured or contains solid particles.

Adrenaline auto-injectors have an expiry date - remember to renew yours before it expires. Out of date auto-injectors may not work. But in an emergency, if there’s no other choice, then you can use an out-of-date auto-injector.

Important safety information

Make sure you know how to use the type of device that you have been prescribed. Injection technique varies between brands.

You must regularly review how to use your adrenaline auto-injector and train friends, family and first aiders at your workplace to use the device. You can find training videos online and it’s a good idea to order a trainer pen to practise. Don’t leave it until an emergency to work out what to do - review instructions calmly in advance.

It’s important that you tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. You must also tell us of any other conditions you live with. We need to know so that we can prescribe anaphylaxis treatment if suitable for you.

Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021