Anaphylaxis: lack of hospital doctors' knowledge of adrenaline (epinephrine) administration in adults could endanger patients' safety

Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jun;44(3):122-7.


Adrenaline (epinephrine) is the first line drug to be given in anaphylaxis and can save patients' lives. Conversely, incorrect administration of adrenaline in anaphylaxis has caused patients serious harm, including death. We compared the survey results of doctors' knowledge of adrenaline administration in adults of two District General Hospitals Trusts in England and found, that from 284 Hospital Doctors, 14.4% (n = 41) would administer adrenaline as recommended by published anaphylaxis guidelines. This survey comparison shows that a significant number of hospital doctors, regardless of seniority and specialty, have an educational deficit regarding correct administration of adrenaline (epinephrine) administration in adults with anaphylaxis. Multilevel strategies to educate doctors and prevent patient harm are needed. We propose a mnemonic for remembering the recommended treatment for anaphylaxis in the adult: "A Thigh 500" forAdrenaline into the antero-lateral thigh, 500 micrograms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaphylaxis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Data Collection
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Epinephrine