First Aid Update on Anaphylaxis

There has been a recent and very important investigation and report by the MHRA into the recommended dosage, site of administration and efficacy of adrenalin autoinjectors.

  • There has recently been a thorough review concerning Anaphylaxis – in particular looking at dose, recommended needle length and injection site – the full report can be linked by clicking this link: Anaphylaxis Report from the MHRA

This is an in-depth report following the death of a young medical student whose adrenaline autoinjector failed to give sufficient adrenaline to counter her reaction:
The report looks at:

  • the need to contact the emergency services even if the patient appeared to be improving;
  • most effective site of injection and
  • the most appropriate length for the needle to ensure that adrenaline is delivered to the muscle – which is the fastest route of absorption. There is also analysis as to how far the adrenaline is projected from the end of the needle into the tissues and the implications of this.

There are alarming statistics concerning the estimated failure rate of autoinjectors and a suggestion that patients should have 2 autoinjectors to minimise the risk of a fatality occurring due to an mechanical failure!

The conclusion was that manufacturers need to conduct more studies to evaluate the delivery mechanisms, optimum needle length and improve the quality standards. Manufacturers were asked to reinforce the advice that patients should call for an ambulance immediately after giving their autoinjector. Instructions should state that the optimum position for a patient whilst waiting for medical assistance is lying in a head down positon (unless breathing is impaired) in order to maintain effective circulation.

For other information about anaphylaxis and allergic reactions, we suggest you this article

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency Please visit  and for more information about our practical and online courses and to access free resources.

Emma Hammett, First Aid for Life Tel: 0208 675 4036      www.


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