If you experience a serious allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, after being exposed to something you're allergic to, your doctor has probably told you to keep an EpiPen with you at all times. EpiPens contain epinephrine, a drug which reduces inflammation and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. Although epinephrine, a type of adrenalin, is the first line of defence for severe allergic reactions, according to the Mayo Clinic, epinephrine injectors other than the EpiPen and secondary treatments for allergic reactions are available.
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Like the EpiPen, Twinject is an epinephrine injector used for the treatment of severe allergies and resulting anaphylaxis. Prescribed to individuals with highly severe or recurring allergies, the Twinject injector features two doses of epinephrine. When an allergic reaction occurs, the first dose of epinephrine is released using the injector. If a second flare-up occurs or the first injection does not have the necessary effect, a second dose is given from the same injector right away, eliminating the need for two EpiPens.
If you have a small child who has severe allergic reactions, the EpiPen Junior is an alternative typically prescribed. The EpiPen Junior is for children 15 to 29.9kg. It provides a smaller dose of epinephrine to the allergy sufferer than the standard EpiPen. The standard EpiPen releases 0.3 mg of epinephrine. The EpiPen Junior releases on 0.15 mg of epinephrine in each dose.
Leukotriene modifiers prevent airway constriction, excess mucus production, and lung swelling and inflammation before they occur by stopping the cause--leukotriene chemicals. Leukotriene modifiers are typically taken orally at least once a day and can take anywhere from a week to a month to take effect. Common leukotriene modifiers include: Singular, Accolate and ZyfloCR.
In many countries outside the United States, antihistamines are still used as the first line of defence in allergy treatment, but according to an article by D.A. Andreae in the British Medical Journal, antihistamines are not as quick or effective as epinephrine in the treatment of severe allergy symptoms.
Additional treatments are used either separately or in conjunction with epinephrine for the treatment of severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. Once the EpiPen has been administered, oxygen or a beta agonist, such as abuterol, is often given to open restricted airways, and an intravenous antihistamine or cortisone may be provided to reduce swelling and inflammation.
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