Epinephrine for First-aid Management of Anaphylaxis

Pediatrics. 2017 Mar;139(3):e20164006. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-4006. Epub 2017 Feb 13.


Anaphylaxis is a severe, generalized allergic or hypersensitivity reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. Epinephrine (adrenaline) can be life-saving when administered as rapidly as possible once anaphylaxis is recognized. This clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics is an update of the 2007 clinical report on this topic. It provides information to help clinicians identify patients at risk of anaphylaxis and new information about epinephrine and epinephrine autoinjectors (EAs). The report also highlights the importance of patient and family education about the recognition and management of anaphylaxis in the community. Key points emphasized include the following: (1) validated clinical criteria are available to facilitate prompt diagnosis of anaphylaxis; (2) prompt intramuscular epinephrine injection in the mid-outer thigh reduces hospitalizations, morbidity, and mortality; (3) prescribing EAs facilitates timely epinephrine injection in community settings for patients with a history of anaphylaxis and, if specific circumstances warrant, for some high-risk patients who have not previously experienced anaphylaxis; (4) prescribing epinephrine for infants and young children weighing <15 kg, especially those who weigh 7.5 kg and under, currently presents a dilemma, because the lowest dose available in EAs, 0.15 mg, is a high dose for many infants and some young children; (5) effective management of anaphylaxis in the community requires a comprehensive approach involving children, families, preschools, schools, camps, and sports organizations; and (6) prevention of anaphylaxis recurrences involves confirmation of the trigger, discussion of specific allergen avoidance, allergen immunotherapy (eg, with stinging insect venom, if relevant), and a written, personalized anaphylaxis emergency action plan; and (7) the management of anaphylaxis also involves education of children and supervising adults about anaphylaxis recognition and first-aid treatment.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis
  • Anaphylaxis / drug therapy*
  • Anaphylaxis / prevention & control
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Emergency Medical Tags
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • First Aid / standards*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular / instrumentation
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • School Health Services
  • Self Administration
  • United States


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Epinephrine