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Scott Med J. 2010 Aug;55(3):11-4.

Survey of anaphylaxis management by general practitioners in Scotland.

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Department of Dermatology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK.



To obtain a snapshot of how patients with potentially life-threatening allergies are managed within a Primary Care setting.


A questionnaire-based survey sent to all General Practitioners in Scotland.


Six hundred and thirteen replies were suitable for analysis. Ninety percent of respondents had prescribed adrenaline auto-injector pens, almost exclusively the EpiPen device. Less than half were personally confident in their use and only 17% had access to a dummy trainer pen for demonstration purposes. Twenty seven percent would prescribe one auto-injector only. Six percent reported accidental mis-firing of adrenaline pens, although with no serious sequelae. Refusal of pens by patients was noted by 1%. In the event of an anaphylactic emergency, 90% of respondents would use adrenaline as first-line treatment, although only half would use the UK Resuscitation Council recommended adult dose of 0.5mg by the intramuscular route (or 0.3mg by auto-injector). Eleven percent would give adrenaline by the slower subcutaneous route and 3% by the intravenous route. Thirty six percent had themselves treated such a case outside of hospital. Sixty two percent of respondents would seek specialist investigation of anaphylaxis, although only 31% felt that ready access was available. Frequent concerns were raised about current provision of care for patients with allergic disease and their own ability to deal with this.


Investment is required, both to provide basic training and ongoing support for Primary healthcare staff in the management of allergic disease, and also for necessary accompanying specialist support.

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