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Am J Ther. 2016 Nov 24. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000000541. [Epub ahead of print]

Unintentional Epinephrine Auto-injector Injuries: A National Poison Center Observational Study.

Author information

1
1School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; 2Virginia Poison Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; and 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Epinephrine is the only first-line therapeutic agent used to treat life-threatening anaphylaxis. Epinephrine auto-injectors are commonly carried by patients at risk for anaphylaxis, and reported cases of unintentional auto-injector injury have increased over the last decade. Modifications of existing designs and release of a new style of auto-injector are intended to reduce epinephrine auto-injector misuse.

STUDY QUESTION:

The aim of the study was to characterize reported cases of unintentional epinephrine auto-injector exposures from 2013 to 2014 and compare demographics, auto-injector model, and anatomical site of such exposures.

METHODS:

The American Association of Poison Control Center's National Poison Data System was searched from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, for cases of unintentional epinephrine auto-injector exposures. Anatomical site data were obtained from all cases reported to the Virginia Poison Center and participating regional poison center for Auvi-Q cases.

RESULTS:

A total of 6806 cases of unintentional epinephrine auto-injector exposures were reported to US Poison Centers in 2013 and 2014. Of these cases, 3933 occurred with EpiPen, 2829 with EpiPen Jr, 44 with Auvi-Q, and no case reported of Adrenaclick. The most common site of unintentional injection for traditional epinephrine auto-injectors was the digit or thumb, with 58% of cases for EpiPen and 39% of cases with EpiPen Jr. With Auvi-Q, the most common site was the leg (78% of cases).

CONCLUSIONS:

The number of unintentional epinephrine auto-injector cases reported to American Poison Centers in 2013-2014 has increased compared with previous data. Most EpiPen exposures were in the digits, whereas Auvi-Q was most frequently in the leg. Because of the limitations of Poison Center data, more research is needed to identify incidence of unintentional exposures and the effectiveness of epinephrine auto-injector redesign.

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