Send to

Choose Destination
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Aug;124(2):301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.03.050. Epub 2009 Jun 21.

Anaphylaxis in the community: learning from the survivors.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, CIHR National Training Program in Allergy and Asthma, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



Most studies of anaphylaxis in the community focus on persons at risk who might, or might not, have experienced anaphylaxis.


We sought to focus on survivors of anaphylaxis in the community and their experiences in using, or not using, an epinephrine autoinjector for first-aid treatment.


An e-mail survey was conducted. Responses were anonymous and could not be traced to any person or location. Anaphylaxis was defined as the most severe sudden-onset allergic reaction ever experienced by the participants or a person for whom they were responsible (eg, a child). There were 17 core multiple-choice questions for all participants, with 16 additional questions for users who injected epinephrine either into themselves or someone else, and 1 additional question for nonusers.


Of the 1885 participants, 500 (27%) were epinephrine users, and 1385 (73%) were nonusers. The groups were similar with regard to multisystem organ involvement (82% vs 78%, P = .07) and many other aspects of anaphylaxis; however, epinephrine users were more likely (all P < .05) to report respiratory or shock symptoms; to report peanut, fish, or insect sting triggers; to be asthmatic; and to have taken or been given asthma medication on the day of the episode. Epinephrine users reported problems in deciding whether to give the injection, repeat the dose, and/or go to an emergency department. Nonusers reported not injecting epinephrine for various reasons, including use of an H(1)-antihistamine (38%), no prescription for epinephrine (28%), and/or a mild anaphylaxis episode (13%).


In a unique population composed of 1885 survivors of anaphylaxis in the community, users of epinephrine autoinjectors for first-aid treatment were outnumbered by nonusers. The insights reported by epinephrine users and the reasons why nonusers did not inject epinephrine are documented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center