Patients Unclear on Epinephrine Auto Injector Use

Only half of patients say they would use them in an emergency

WEDNESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients prescribed epinephrine auto injectors (EAIs) report that they aren't closely followed up by their doctors and fewer than half of them say they would use an EAI in an emergency, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Miami Beach.

James S. Kong, M.D., of the University of California at Davis, and colleagues studied 29 food-allergic adults, 20 of whom received emergency care after a severe reaction. Twenty-one patients (seven non-emergency room patients and 14 emergency-room patients) were prescribed EAIs.

The researchers found that 76 percent of the EAI patients were trained to use the device and 68 percent could demonstrate correct usage, but 29 percent of them stored the medication in a car. Only 10 percent reported that their doctor reviewed correct usage, while 24 percent said their doctor discussed the need to renew EAIs and 32 percent said their doctor was unaware of the severity of their food allergy. Among the 20 patients who reported having an action plan for future severe reactions, only 45 percent said they would use epinephrine compared to 55 percent who said they would go to an emergency room and 70 percent who said they would take antihistamines.

"Patients report a lack of follow-up regarding the role of EAIs by their doctors, in addition to an emphasis on antihistamine use, which may be reflected in the low planned use of EAIs in future severe allergic reactions," the authors conclude.


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