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Epinephrine autoinjector prescribing following anaphylaxis presentation to the emergency department

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Guidelines recommend patients with anaphylaxis are prescribed epinephrine autoinjectors (EAI), carry the EAI with them, and are referred to an allergist. There also are barriers to EAI administration, such as acquiring the medication, having it available, recognizing when to use it, and administering it appropriately.


The objective was to describe how often patients with anaphylaxis discharged from the emergency department (ED) receive an EAI prescription and allergist referral; also, to assess the frequency of EAI pick-up by the patient from the outpatient pharmacy, out-of-pocket cost, change in EAI device during dispensing, and if patient training on EAI use and allergist follow-up occurred. Patient-specific factors associated with the occurrence of these variables were investigated.


This was a retrospective, observational study of adult and pediatric ED patients who presented with anaphylaxis between July and December 2020. Data were collected from medical records and telephone calls to outpatient pharmacies and included patient demographics; ED treatment; EAI prescribing, EAI pick-up from the outpatient pharmacy, and cost; device changes; EAI training; and allergist referral and follow-up. Data are presented descriptively, and bivariate analyses were used for comparisons between patient-specific factors and incidence of EAI prescribing, patient pick-up, and allergist referral.


A total of 102 patients were included; mean age ± standard deviation 34 ± 7 years, 52% were < 18 years of age; and 54% had a history of allergy and/or anaphylaxis. EAI prescribing occurred in 79% of the patients. Of these, 71% picked up the EAI from the outpatient pharmacy, the median cost to the patient was $5 (range, $0‐$379), 18% had an EAI device change at dispensing, and 23% received EAI training. Allergist referral occurred in 22%, and 28% followed up with an allergist within 60 days. Presenting symptoms of mucosal edema and respiratory stridor were associated with the occurrence of EAI prescribing. Presenting symptoms of respiratory wheezing, hoarseness, throat itching, skin flushing and allergist referral from the ED were associated with the occurrence of EAI pick-up from the outpatient pharmacy.


Overall, 79% of ED patients with anaphylaxis had an EAI prescribed and 22% had an allergist referral; 71% picked up the EAI from the outpatient pharmacy, EAI dispensing changes occurred, and training was infrequent. Collaboration between emergency medicine clinicians, allergists, and pharmacists is needed to streamline treatment and follow-up.

Keywords: Adrenergic; Ambulances; Anaphylaxis; Emergency Responders; Emergency Service; Epinephrine; Hospital; Humans; Patient Discharge; Prescriptions; Receptors; Risk Factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 2: Department of Medicine, Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, and

Publication date: July 1, 2023

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  • 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.

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    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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