Epinephrine: the drug of choice for anaphylaxis. A statement of the World Allergy Organization

Allergy. 2008 Aug;63(8):1061-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01733.x.


Anaphylaxis is an acute and potentially lethal multi-system allergic reaction. Most consensus guidelines for the past 30 years have held that epinephrine is the drug of choice and the first drug that should be administered in acute anaphylaxis. Some state that properly administered epinephrine has no absolute contraindication in this clinical setting. A committee of anaphylaxis experts assembled by the World Allergy Organization has examined the evidence from the medical literature concerning the appropriate use of epinephrine for anaphylaxis. The Committee strongly believes that epinephrine is currently underutilized and often dosed suboptimally to treat anaphylaxis, is under-prescribed for potential future self-administration, that most of the reasons proposed to withhold its clinical use are flawed, and that the therapeutic benefits of epinephrine exceed the risk when given in appropriate i.m. doses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / drug therapy*
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sympathomimetics / administration & dosage*
  • Sympathomimetics / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sympathomimetics
  • Epinephrine