Anaphylactic shock and conditions such as angioedema are medical emergencies that can result in cardiovascular collapse and/or death. They require prompt treatment of possible laryngeal edema, bronchospasm or hypertension. Atopic individuals are particularly susceptible. Insect bites and certain foods including eggs, fish, peanuts and nuts are also a risk for sensitized persons. Therapeutic substances particularly associated with anaphylaxis include blood products, vaccines, hyposensitizing (allergen) preparations, antibiotics (especially penicillins), iron injections, heparin, and neuromuscular blocking drugs. Acetyl salicylic acid and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may cause bronchoconstriction in leukotriene-sensitive patients. In the case of drug allergy, anaphylaxis is more likely to occur after parenteral administration. Resuscitation facilities should always be available when injecting a drug associated with a risk of anaphylactic reactions.
First line treatment of a severe allergic reaction includes administering epinephrine (adrenaline), keeping the airway open (with assisted respiration if necessary) and restoring blood pressure. Epinephrine (adrenaline) should immediately be given by intramuscular injection to produce vasoconstriction and bronchodilation and injections should be repeated every 10 minutes until blood pressure and pulse have stabilized. If there is cardiovascular shock with inadequate circulation, epinephrine (adrenaline) must be given cautiously by slow intravenous injection of a dilute solution. An intravenous corticosteroid e.g. hydrocortisone (as sodium succinate) in a dose of 100 - 300 mg is of secondary value in the initial management of anaphylactic shock because the onset of action is delayed for several hours, but should be given to prevent further deterioration in severely affected patients.
Injection, 0.1 % in 1 ml ampoule
Indications: -emergency treatment of acute anaphylaxis; angioedema; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; see also section 2.5 and 3.2 for other uses of Adrenaline
Cautions: -hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension, arrhythmias, cerebro-vascular disease, angle-closure glaucoma, second stage of labor, elderly patients.
Side effects: anxiety, tremor, tachycardia, arrhythmias, headache, cold extremities; also hypertension (risk of cerebral hemorrhage) and pulmonary edema (on excessive dosage or extreme sensitivity) nausea, vomiting, sweating, weakness, dizziness, and hyperglycemia also reported
Dose and Administrations
Caution: Different dilutions of epinephrine injection are used for different routes of administration
Intramuscular or subcutaneous injection use 1:1000 epinephrine injection.
Slow intravenous injection use 1:10 000 epinephrine injection.
This route should be reserved for severely ill patients when there is doubt about the adequacy of circulation and absorption from the intramuscular site.
Injection (sodium succinate), 50 mg/ml in 2 ml ampoule
Indications: - used for life-threatening shock only after less toxic therapies have proven ineffective.
Cautions: - pregnancy and in children; in patients with hypothyroidism or cirrhosis, psychosis, hypertension, congestive heart failure, diverticulitis, HIV, herpes simplex, oral herpetic lesions, renal function impairment or disease, tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus.
Drug interactions: - alcohol, acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, parenteral amphoterecin B, atropine, oral antidiabetic agents or insulin, digitalis glycoside, diuretics, isoniazid.
Contraindications: - known hypersensitivity to any of corticosteroids, recent surgery, osteoporosis, scleroderma, Cushing's syndrome.
Side effects: - immunosuppression, muscle pain or weakness, delayed wound healing, edema, hypertension, cataract, diabetes mellitus, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, headache, vertigo, insomnia, restlessness, acne, impaired wound healing, increased sweating, hirustism.
Dose and Administration:
Adult dose - for life threatening shock IV-massive dose 50mg/kg initially and repeated in 4 hours and/or every 24 hours if needed, or 0.5-2g IV initially and repeated at 2 to 6 hours intervals as required.
Storage: - at room temperature.