Adrenaline auto-injectors are potentially life-saving treatments for anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) while the patient waits for emergency medical assistance. However, as EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has noted, several factors may affect whether adrenaline is actually delivered into a muscle. These include:
- length of the needle,
- thickness of fat under the skin,
- the way the auto-injector works (eg, if it is spring loaded or not),
- the angle at which the device is placed on the skin,
- the force used to activate the device, and
- how well the user follows the instructions for injection.
Based on EMA's recommendation, companies that market adrenaline auto-injectors will be asked to develop more effective educational material for patients and healthcare professionals to ensure their optimal use. This will include a training device with which patients can practise; audio-visual material to show in detail how the device is to be used; and a checklist for prescribers to ensure that sufficient information is given to the patient before they use the auto-injector.
In addition, EMA wants the product information of adrenaline auto-injectors to be updated with further warnings and precautions, including a recommendation that patients should be prescribed two auto-injectors which they should carry at all times and a recommendation for family members, carers or teachers to be trained on how to use the auto-injector.
EMA's recommendation will now be sent to the European Commission for a legally binding decision that will be valid throughout the EU.
Source: European Medicines Agency (EMA)
Image credit: Flickr.com