Parental knowledge and use of epinephrine auto-injector for children with food allergy

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2006 May;17(3):221-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2006.00391.x.


Epinephrine should be prescribed for patients at risk of anaphylaxis. Our purpose was to determine the use of Anapen prescribed for food-allergic children, to assess parental knowledge regarding Anapen, and to evaluate the arrangements for emergency kits and personalized care projects in everyday life. A prospective study was performed with a questionnaire sent to families with a food-allergic child previously prescribed Anapen. One hundred and fifty two families were contacted and finally 111 children included (median age 6.5 yrs). Main food allergens were peanuts (n = 89), egg (n = 39) and cow's milk (n = 10). The use of Anapen had been demonstrated to 90% of parents (by prescribing physician, 69%; pharmacist, 25%; general practitioner, 5%; nurse 1%), with a training device (76%) and/or written instructions (49%). When asked to list symptoms requiring injection, 48% of parents cited more than one response: breathing difficulties only (23%), or with angio-edema (41%), collapse or faintness (38%), anaphylactic shock (48%). Of 107 children attending school, 54% had a personalized care project, 72% an Anapen device, and 60% a complete emergency kit (epinephrine, inhaled beta-agonist, corticosteroid, anti-H1 drug). Beta-agonists were forgotten at school by 34 children (13 asthmatics). Anapen was used in one child for angio-edema and dyspnea after inadvertent ingestion of egg at home. In our population, epinephrine auto-injectors and emergency kits were insufficiently available at schools and in daily life. The use of auto-injectors was not adequately demonstrated. The prescription of epinephrine for food-allergic children at risk of anaphylaxis requires accurate diagnosis, educational programs, information, and follow up.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Anaphylaxis / drug therapy*
  • Anaphylaxis / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Treatment*
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / drug therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections / methods
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • School Health Services


  • Adrenergic Agonists
  • Epinephrine