Adverse Reaction to Epi-pen Jr.

Updated on July 03, 2010
K.M. asks from Sunnyvale, CA
5 answers

Hi moms,

Last weekend, I fed my son whole wheat pasta, green peas, with homemade carbonara sauce (milk, egg, basil, parmesan cheese). All of these ingredients, he has had some way before, but never with carbonara sauce. Almost immediately, he began rubbing his eyes, getting the sauce all over his face and into his eyes, and he began swelling pretty intensely, but he was breathing fine. We went to urgent care, where they gave him benadryl orally, which he promptly vomited. Then, they gave him an epi-pen jr. shot. My son cried for a few minutes, then went quiet, pale, and then blue. He wasn't breathing for about 45 seconds. They put an oxygen mask on him and he started crying and breathing again.

The docs at Urgent care and at the ER seemed to think that this was anaphylaxis due to something he ate. We visited the allergist on Thursday and he seems to think that maybe it was the epi-pen that caused him to stop breathing. (The allergist did do a skin prick test and it does seem that my son may be allergic to egg white & yolk, as well as peanuts.)

Has anyone experienced an adverse reaction to the epi-pen? Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. We will go back to the allergist on Monday for a blood test and an epi-pen challenge for him to see if the same thing happens.

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answers from San Francisco on

I've never heard of this before, but have always wondered about it. My son is allergic to many foods. He had a similar reaction with peas, they are in the legume family with peanuts. Also, people can have a biphasic reaction (reaction goes away and later returns) Food allergies are tricky, but there's a lot of good info out there. (Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network) is an awesome one. is another great one, you can actually post your question and get responses from all over the US. If you want local support for a support group in Redwood City. Good luck, I know it's hard. T.

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answers from Topeka on

I have never heard of this before...I work as a clerk in a pharmacy and have never heard a possible allergic reaction to an Epi Pen mentioned. Of course an Epi Pen is to TREAT allergic reactions so I fail to see how you would know if the Epi Pen were CAUSING an allergic reaction. Talk to your pharmacist about this...they should be able to access a lot of professional information about the product.



answers from Davenport on

How much does your son weigh? It sounds like he received too much epinephrine, not an allergic reaction. An epi-pen Jr. is for patients weight 33-66lbs. Epi-pens are great for emergency or home use because you don't have to take the extra time to measure to dose. The idea is that even if they receive too much, it is safer than not given it and having a severe allergic reaction. Even if your child weighs 30+ lbs, this may have been too much to give at once.



answers from Pittsburgh on


Whew, my heart goes out to you! I also have a child who has anaphylactic reactions and has an epipen with her at all times. Those ER visits can be so frightening! I also have a sister with similar issues. I also have never heard of people being allergic to the epinephrine, but my sister always has adverse reactions to it. What she experiences (and my daughter has too) is all of the "typical" and expected reactions to the epinephrine: increased heart rate, agitation, etc. She then feels totally wiped out, sick to her stomach, etc. for days and days following the episode. But it has also repeatedly saved her life.

When my daughter was only 1, she had her worst bout of anaphylaxis.
When the squad came, the EMT gave her one shot with an epipen, and she was still struggling to breathe after we got to the ER, even after they gave her oxygen. They then gave her a SECOND dose of epinephrine, and it still took some time for her to breathe well on her own. They were just about to intubate her, when her breathing began to improve. It is certainly possible that your child had such a bad reaction to the food he ate that the shot needed some time to take affect.

Make sure you keep an epipen handy at all times. We get a new one every time the insurance allows, even if we did not use the old one, so we can then have them stashed all over the house...just in case.

Best wishes!



answers from Portland on

I have a friend who is also allergic to epi-pens. I am sorry you had to go through such a frightening experience.

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