On 25 June 2015, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended several measures, including the introduction of more effective educational material, to ensure that patients and carers use adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) successfully.
Adrenaline auto-injectors are potentially life-saving treatments for anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) while the patient waits for emergency medical assistance. In the UK the following brands are available – Jext and EpiPen.
Emerade devices in all doses (150mcg, 300mcg and 500mcg) have been recalled and are not currently available. Read the latest statements on this in our Latest News section here.
The EMA carried out a review of adrenaline auto-injectors following concerns that currently available devices may deliver adrenaline under the skin instead of into a muscle, and this may delay response to treatment.
Having assessed all the available data, EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) acknowledged that giving the medicine by injection into the muscle is the preferred way to obtain a rapid response in anaphylaxis. However, the CHMP noted that several factors may affect whether adrenaline is actually delivered into a muscle; these include needle length, the thickness of fat under the skin, the way the auto-injector works (e.g. if it is spring loaded or not), the angle at which the device is placed on the skin and the force used to activate the device as well as how well the user follows the instructions for injection.
The CHMP also concluded that further data should be generated to better understand how adrenaline penetrates body tissues when given with each of the different auto-injectors. This means there will be further clinical trials to try to establish his.
The CHMP recommendation was sent to the European Commission which endorsed it and issued a legally binding decision that is valid throughout the EU.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign has followed this through with the MHRA, and we will continue to keep you updated on this review.
Key points for people prescribed AAIs
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