Mythbuster: Someone who has been treated with an epinephrine auto-injector doesn’t necessarily need to go to the hospital

FACT: Someone who has been treated with an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen®, AUVI-Q®) should go to the hospital. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition which is treated by a medication called epinephrine. Epinephrine is a short acting medication that can counteract some of the issues that arise including airway closure and decreased blood flow to the heart and brain. When someone is having a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, epinephrine is used to help start treatment prior to going to the hospital.

There are also important “co-factors,” such as alcohol, exercise and certain medications, that can influence the severity of food allergic reactions by lowering the threshold for a reaction in some people.

Bottom line: Sometimes more help is needed than just using epinephrine, which is why it’s necessary to go to the hospital.

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Medical content reviewed by: Dr. Zainab Abdurrahman, MD, MMath, FRCPC, and Dr. Julia Upton, MD, FRCP(C) Clinical Immunology and Allergy

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