EpiPen (Adrenaline Pen)

Anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction is a life threatening emergency. It is caused by the overwhelming reaction of the body’s immune system to a specific substance that the body incorrectly thinks is attacking it. Common substances, or allergens, include: peanuts, nuts in general, some foods, latex, insect stings,  and certain drugs. 

In as many as 1 in 4 cases of anaphylaxis no trigger can be identified despite extensive testing.

This type of anaphylaxis is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis.

Common symptoms of anaphylaxis include: 

  • Very rapid onset of: 
    • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
    • Generalized rash including hives with itching and skin redness
    • Wheeze and/or difficulty breathing
    • Collapse, fainting or falling due to low blood pressure 

An injection of a drug called adrenaline should be given as soon as there is concern that an anaphylactic reaction is starting. If needed, adrenaline is administered using a pre-filled injection device. There are four different devices available in Ireland and it is important that you request the device that you are familiar with, as there are variations in how each device is operated. 

Being trained to use an adrenaline pre-filled syringe is only one part of being safe if you have a severe allergy. You should also ensure: 

  • You are educated and informed about your allergy and how to reduce your risk of a severe allergic reaction.
  • You check the ingredients in your food. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about potential  allergens when eating outside of your home! 
  • You inform family, friends and work colleagues about your allergy. 
  • Wear an allergy bracelet
  • You are aware of the potential early signs of a severe allergic/ anaphylactic reaction and what to do in this situation.

Who is this treatment for?

This treatment is suitable for people who:

  • Are aged 17 years and over. 
  • Have been diagnosed by a doctor in the past with a severe allergy that requires you to carry an adrenaline pen at all times. 
  • Can provide proof of a previous prescription of an adrenaline injector pen:
    • By providing a consultant’s letter with details of your allergy. 
    • Upload a picture of the box of your adrenaline pen that shows your name, date of birth and pharmacy details..
  • Can confirm they have been trained on how to use an adrenaline pen, are confident in its use and that they agree you must carry the device at all times.  
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a severe allergic attack. 

This treatment is not suitable for people who: 

  • Are under the age of 17.
  • Have never been diagnosed with a serious allergy or been issued with a prescription for a pre-filled adrenaline pen. 
  • Cannot provide proof of a previous prescription for an adrenaline pen with a consultant’s letter or by uploading a picture of the box of your adrenaline pen showing name, pharmacy details and date of birth.
  • Have not been trained on how to use a pre-filled adrenaline pen, are not confident in its use and do not carry the device at all times.  
  • Do not know the signs and symptoms of a severe allergic attack. 

How the service works

  • Online consultations with Irish based doctors
  • Our doctors issue a prescription if medically safe and suitable
  • Valid in any Irish pharmacy to buy your medication
  • Prescription sent to your chosen pharmacy via secure email (Healthmail) within minutes of approval

Note: We can only ever prescribe for this treatment for patients that are at least 17 years of age.

The service is provided in accordance with your scheme rules and table of benefits, which you can find on Member Area on layahealthcare.ie or by calling 021 202 2000.