Updated as of May 19, 2020.
FACT: Antihistamines and asthma medications should not be used instead of epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis.
While these drugs will do no harm when given as additional or secondary medication, they have NOT been proven to stop an anaphylactic reaction. Epinephrine is the only drug that can reverse symptoms of anaphylaxis and is considered life-saving medication. Canadian allergists advise that an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen®, ALLERJECT®) is the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis and should be used before asthma inhalers, antihistamines, or any other medications. The main benefit of antihistamines is in treating hives or skin symptoms.
Bottom line: Use your epinephrine auto-injector to treat anaphylaxis, and don’t delay.
Learn more about the importance of epinephrine from Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan and Beatrice Povolo, our Director, Advocacy & Media Relations, with these short videos.
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