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Anaphylaxis and epinephrine prescribing patterns in a military hospital: Underutilization of the intramuscular route

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Epinephrine is the only definitive treatment of anaphylaxis, and recent evidence suggests that the intramuscular route has superior pharmacokinetics to subcutaneous administration. There is little data regarding what route is commonly used in clinical practice. The objective of this article is to determine the rate of epinephrine use in cases of anaphylaxis and route of administration utilized. A retrospective review was made of 220 medical records with the primary diagnosis of urticaria, angioedema, or anaphylaxis over a 28-month period at a military medical center. Twenty-four cases of anaphylaxis identified in the records. Demographics, along with signs and symptoms of those experiencing anaphylaxis, were similar to other published reports. Epinephrine was given in only 50% of cases and largely by the subcutaneous route. No intramuscular epinephrine was administered. H1 blockers and steroids were the most commonly administered treatments. H2 blockers were given at the same rate as epinephrine. An autoinjector was prescribed in 29% of cases with instruction on its use documented in 13%. An allergy referral was made in 29% of cases. Greater educational efforts and collaboration are needed between the allergy community and other providers regarding the importance of administering epinephrine intramuscularly, prescribing autoinjectors, and referring to an allergist in cases of anaphylaxis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2005

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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