EpiPen (epinephrine) is a prescription drug-device combination product used as an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions. It comes as a single-use prefilled injection pen that contains epinephrine as a liquid solution.
The active ingredient in EpiPen is epinephrine. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Epinephrine belongs to a group of drugs called adrenergics.
This article describes the drug dosages of EpiPen, as well as how to use it. To learn more about EpiPen, see this in-depth article.
This section provides commonly used dosages for EpiPen, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
The table below shows recommendations based on your body weight in kilograms (kg).* Dosages are listed in milligrams (mg).
|Body weight||Product||Epinephrine dose|
|15 kg to less than 30 kg||EpiPen Jr||0.15 mg|
|30 kg or more||EpiPen||0.3 mg|
Up to two doses can be given for a single allergic reaction. For this reason, the injection pens come packaged in sets of two.
Throughout this article, EpiPen and EpiPen Jr will be referred to simply as “EpiPen” unless it’s necessary to distinguish between the two products.
Keep reading to learn more about EpiPen’s dosage.
* A kg is approximately 2.2 pounds (lb), so 30 kg is about 66 lb.
What is EpiPen’s form?
EpiPen is a single-dose injection pen that contains the drug epinephrine. The drug comes as a liquid solution inside the injection pen. You’ll use the injection pen to inject the drug under your skin or into the muscle of your outer thigh.
What strengths does EpiPen come in?
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr contain different amounts of epinephrine:
- EpiPen contains 0.3 mg of epinephrine.
- EpiPen Jr contains 0.15 mg of epinephrine.
In both EpiPen and EpiPen Jr, the drug is in 0.3 milliliters (mL) of liquid solution.
What are the usual dosages of EpiPen?
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for allergic reactions in adults
Doctors prescribe EpiPen for adults who have had a severe allergic reaction in the past and may need emergency treatment for an allergic reaction in the future.
Adults are usually prescribed the EpiPen with 0.3 mg of epinephrine. The injection pens come packaged in sets of two. A second injection pen is included in case your symptoms continue or return after the first dose. You’ll take a maximum of two doses.
You’ll then go to the emergency room for follow-up care.
What’s the dosage of EpiPen for children?
Your child’s doctor may prescribe EpiPen or EpiPen Jr if your child weighs at least 15 kg and is at risk of having a severe allergic reaction. Depending on your child’s body weight, their doctor may prescribe EpiPen or EpiPen Jr.
For children weighing at least 15 kg but less than 30 kg, their doctor will usually recommend EpiPen Jr. This pen contains 0.15 mg of epinephrine.
For children weighing 30 kg or more, their doctor will likely prescribe the EpiPen with 0.3 mg of epinephrine.
The injection pens always come in sets of two. Your child may receive a second injection if symptoms continue or return after the first injection.
If your child weighs less than 15 kg, talk with their doctor about other options for treatment of severe allergic reactions.
For more information about EpiPen or EpiPen Jr for your child, talk with your child’s doctor.
Is EpiPen used long term?
For most people, the risk of a severe allergic reaction does not change with time. Your doctor will likely suggest having EpiPen available as long as there’s a risk of a severe allergic reaction that requires emergency treatment.
Sometimes, childhood allergies, such as egg allergies, become less severe with time. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about the continued risk of a severe allergic reaction.
Your doctor will explain when and how to use EpiPen. For the purpose of practicing, the EpiPen set comes with a trainer pen. The trainer pen doesn’t include a needle.
After the injection pen needle pierces your skin or muscle, you’ll leave it in place for 3 seconds. After 3 seconds, you can remove the injection pen needle from your body. You’ll then massage the injection site for 10 seconds.
The manufacturer of EpiPen has step-by-step instructions available on its website.
A second dose of epinephrine may be given if symptoms return or don’t go away. Do not give more than two doses.
Be sure to call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room after receiving EpiPen. Medical care is still required, even if you feel better after injecting the drug.
Do not use more than two EpiPens for a single allergic episode, as this can lead to harmful effects. You may need more epinephrine, but it must be given in a medical facility where you can be carefully monitored.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
- bleeding in your brain
- extremely cold skin
- irregular heartbeat
- fluid in your lungs
- kidney failure
- high blood pressure emergency
What to do in case you’ve used too many EpiPens
You should always seek immediate medical care once you’ve used EpiPen. If you’ve used more than two EpiPens or have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about EpiPen’s dosage.
Is EpiPen’s dosage similar to the dosages of Auvi-Q?
EpiPen and Auvi-Q (epinephrine) are similar medications. They’re both used as an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. They’re both single-dose injection pens that come pre-filled with epinephrine.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are available in two strengths: 0.3 milligrams (mg) and 0.15 mg of epinephrine.
Auvi-Q comes in three strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.15 mg, and 0.1 mg of epinephrine.
EpiPen is also available as a generic epinephrine injection pen. Generics usually cost less than brand-name products. Auvi-Q isn’t available in a generic version.
One unique feature of Auvi-Q is that its injection pens contain an electronic voice instruction system. This means that the injection pen can provide step-by-step verbal instructions.
To learn more about how these injection pens compare, talk with your doctor.
How long does it take for EpiPen to start working?
After injection, the epinephrine starts to work immediately. It can help treat the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction and prevent the symptoms from getting worse. If the symptoms continue or return before you can get to the emergency room, you may need a second dose.
It’s important to keep in mind that EpiPen is a supportive treatment. Using EpiPen is not a substitute for immediate medical care. You should always call 911 or go to an emergency room after using EpiPen.
The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer. If your doctor recommends EpiPen for you, they’ll prescribe the appropriate product for you.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about the medication.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- When will my child outgrow EpiPen Jr?
- How does the dosage of EpiPen compare with the dosage of the generic epinephrine injection pen?
- Could any of my other medications change the recommended EpiPen dosage for me?
To learn more about EpiPen, see these articles:
To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.