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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2019 Jul;11(4):529-537. doi: 10.4168/aair.2019.11.4.529.

Underuse of Epinephrine for Pediatric Anaphylaxis Victims in the Emergency Department: A Population-based Study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Contributed equally



Epinephrine is a key drug for treating anaphylaxis; however, its underuse is still a significant issue worldwide. The objective of this study was to compare epinephrine use between pediatric and adult patients who were treated with anaphylaxis in the emergency department (ED).


The data were retrieved from the National Sample Cohort of South Korea, which contains claim data from the National Health Insurance Service. We included patients who visited the ED with a discharge code of anaphylaxis between 2004 and 2013. We assessed prescription information of epinephrine, antihistamine and systemic steroid, previous medical history and discharge disposition from the ED. The study population was categorized based on age at the visit.


A total of 175 pediatric and 1,605 adult patients with anaphylaxis were identified. Only 42 (24%) of the pediatric patients were treated with epinephrine, while 592 (36.9%) of the adult patients were treated with epinephrine (P = 0.001). Furthermore, the pediatric patients were less likely to be treated with systemic steroid than the adult patients (6.9% vs. 12.3%, P = 0.047). The odds ratios for the administration of epinephrine relative to the baseline in the 19-65 age group were 0.34 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15-0.67), 0.56 (95% CI, 0.28-1.03) and 0.79 (95% CI, 0.45-1.33) in the < 7, 7-12 and 13-18 age groups, respectively.


The pediatric patients with anaphylaxis experienced a lower rate of epinephrine injection use than the adult patients and the injection use decreased as age decreased.


Anaphylaxis; epinephrine; pediatric

[Available on 2019-07-01]
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