FACT: Antihistamines and asthma medications should not be used instead of epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis.
While these drugs will do no harm when given as additional or secondary medication, they have NOT been proven to stop an anaphylactic reaction. Epinephrine is the only drug that can reverse symptoms of anaphylaxis and is considered life-saving medication. Canadian allergists advise that an epinephrine auto-injector (such as EpiPen®) is the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis and should be used before asthma inhalers, antihistamines, or any other medications. The main benefit of antihistamines is in treating hives or skin symptoms.
Bottom line: Use your epinephrine auto-injector to treat anaphylaxis, and don’t delay.
Learn more about the importance of epinephrine from Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan and Beatrice Povolo, our Director, Advocacy & Media Relations, with these short videos.
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Check out our blog for other myths about:
- Food intolerances and food allergies
- Hives are always present during an allergic reaction
- Someone who has been treated with an epinephrine auto-injector doesn’t necessarily need to go to the hospital
- Some allergies are more “severe” than others
- Eating a little allergen will increase tolerance and cure allergy
- Age requirement for allergy testing
- Cooking at high temperatures kills allergen proteins
- “May contain” allergen labelling is mandatory
- Results of skin prick tests indicate severity of allergy
- Pesticides and other chemicals can trigger allergies
- Epinephrine auto-injectors cure food allergy
- Which allergens cause life-threatening reactions
- Food allergy “cures”
- Celiac disease is the same as a wheat allergy