What is the role of epinephrine in the treatment of anaphylaxis?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: S Shahzad Mustafa, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Epinephrine maintains blood pressure, antagonizes the effects of the released mediators, and inhibits further release of mediators. Health care professionals are sometimes reluctant to administer epinephrine for fear of adverse effects. However, the use of epinephrine for anaphylaxis has no absolute contraindications. It is the drug of choice and it is usually well tolerated and potentially lifesaving. [48, 69, 72] Anaphylactic deaths correlate with delayed administration of epinephrine. The initial dose can be repeated as necessary, depending on the response. Data are limited concerning the frequency with which patients might require repeated doses of epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis (reports range from 16-36%) and multiple cofactors might be involved. [48, 69]

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