Spreading awareness about food allergies is not complete without including EpiPen or Auvi-Q, the epinephrine auto-injectors that many consider as lifesavers and must-haves for those with food allergies. But how much do we know about this “epinephrine” and why it brings small peace of mind to many of us?
To better understand epinephrine, we may need to go back to its basics. Let’s start with what epinephrine really is.
What is Epinephrine?
Epinephrine is also called adrenaline and in case you didn’t know yet, all of us have it and it’s so essential that even animals naturally produce their own epinephrine. This adrenaline is being secreted by the inner part (medulla) of our adrenal glands that are located in our kidneys.
It is released into our bloodstreams when we’re feeling strong emotions such as fear, anger, joy, sadness or shock. This causes our heart rate to go up and that also increases our muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism.
If Our Body Produces it, Why Do People Undergoing Anaphylactic Shock Still Needs To Inject Epinephrine?
The epinephrine that our body produces is not enough when a person undergoes anaphylaxis since it is a multi-system allergic reaction. During anaphylactic shock, our heart muscles get weaker and will not be able to pump enough blood, our veins shrink which also restricts blood flow; some may experience swelling and inflammation of their lung passages, constrictions of muscles around the airway, and overproduction of mucus that restricts breathing. Epinephrine injection increases the blood flow in our body, thus countering all these body reactions. Unfortunately, adrenaline shots have a short biological half-life (the time required for the activity of a substance taken into the body to lose one half its initial effectiveness) so we need to call our emergency hotline for assistance immediately after.
Other Uses of Epinephrine
We mentioned above that adrenaline increase the blood flow in our body and that amazing ability of epinephrine is very useful in cases of cardiac arrest, asthma attacks (inhaled), to revive a person suffering from hemorrhage or shock. We provide allergy accessories to those in need around the world, including EpiPen bag requirements, allergy medicine carrying case, allergy medicine bag, EpiPen carrying case for adults, EpiPen case for school, insulated EpiPen cases.
Are there any negative side effects of Epinephrine?
There are commonly known side effects of epinephrine such as irregular heartbeat, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, nervousness or anxiety, pale skin, headache etc. These may differ from person to person and it’s difficult to determine any adverse reaction due to the systematic use of epinephrine since there are no clinical tests or data done. We recommend always consulting your doctor or medical professional.
Other interesting facts about epinephrine
Many scientists and chemists already know that the adrenal glands hold a hormone that increases adrenaline. Its first application and usage dated back as early as the 1800s. However, it was the Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine who was first to discover and isolate epinephrine as its own chemical based on the studies conducted in the 1800s.
In order for us to obtain adrenaline in its early stages of production, it needs to be extracted from the adrenal glands of animals and fortunately, modern science can synthetically produce it without harming any animals.
Nowadays, people with food allergies are the most common users or consumers of epinephrine. Our technological advancements paved the way to a more improved and practical delivery system such as via an auto-injector popularized by EpiPen and Auvi-Q. Other methods are currently being developed.