Adrenaline: what it is and when it is essential to use it
Adrenaline stimulates receptors in the sympathetic system to relax the smooth muscles associated with the bronchi and iris. It acts as a histamine antagonist
What is adrenaline used for?
Adrenaline is administered to cope with severe allergic reactions caused by insect stings, food, drugs or various substances (e.g. latex).
It is also used to treat nasal congestion associated with hay fever, rhinitis or acute sinusitis, asthma symptoms, hives and angioneurotic oedema, certain forms of syncope and cardiac arrest, and to relax the muscles of the uterus or inhibit its contractions.
How is adrenaline administered?
Adrenaline can be administered by injection (ready-to-use pre-filled syringes are also commercially available), as a nasal solution or as an aerosol solution.
Adverse effects of adrenaline
Possible adverse effects of adrenaline include:
- heavy, rapid or irregular heartbeat
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- nervousness, anxiety or restlessness
- uncontrollable trembling
Contraindications and warnings for adrenaline
Before considering using it, you should talk to your doctor:
- of any allergies to the active ingredient, its excipients, sulphites or other medicines
- any other medicines, herbal remedies or supplements you are taking, remembering to mention antidepressants (in the case of MAO inhibitors, even if you stopped taking them in the previous two weeks), antihistamines, beta-blockers, diuretics, ergot derivatives, levothyroxine and antiarrhythmics.
- if you suffer (or have suffered) from chest pain, arrhythmias, high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, depression or other psychiatric problems, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis
- contraindications during pregnancy and breastfeeding
In general, there is no absolute contraindication to use in medical emergencies.