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Use an Epi-Pen


Updated August 01, 2008

Use an Epi-Pen

Using an Epi-Pen correctly starts with holding the device correctly. The Epi-Pen should be held in a closed fist with the thumb folded over the fingers, and not placed over the end of the device.

Daniel More, MD
Knowing how to use an Epi-Pen before it's actually needed will ensure that the medication is delivered correctly and safely once it's needed. DO NOT ACTIVATE THE EPI-PEN DEVICE UNLESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION FOR WHICH THIS MEDICATION WAS PRESCRIBED. If you would like to be able to fully practice with an Epi-Pen, check with your doctor or pharmacist for a training Epi-Pen (that contains no needle or medication) which can be practiced with safely.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Remove the Epi-Pen from the carrying case.
  2. Grasp the Epi-Pen in your dominant hand, placing your thumb over your fingers, forming a fist. Do not place your thumb over either end of the Epi-Pen - this could result in accidental injection of the medication into the thumb.
  3. Remove the gray safety cap from the Epi-Pen. The device will not work if this gray cap is attached.
  4. Firmly push the end of the Epi-Pen with the black tip into the side of the thigh (upper leg). When the black cap is pushed against the leg, a needle will pop out of the device, injecting the medication into the muscle of the thigh. The Epi-Pen needle will be able to pierce through most types of clothing, so pants do not need to be removed first in an allergic emergency.
  5. Hold the Epi-Pen device firmly against the thigh for a total of 10 seconds while the medication is being injected. Do not bounce the device off of the thigh prior to this time.
  6. Remove the Epi-Pen needle from the leg and put the used Epi-Pen in a safe place. The device is for single use only and cannot be used again.
  7. Call 911 or have another person take you to the closest emergency room. Inform medical authorities that you have injected youself with an Epi-Pen because you have experienced a severe allergic reaction. Be as specific as possible as to what may have caused the allergic reaction.
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