Also Known As: Epinephrine, Epi-pen, EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Epinephrine autoinjector, Adrenaline
An epinephrine autoinjector is a medical device used to deliver a measured dose (or doses) of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) using autoinjector technology, most frequently for the treatment of acute allergic reactions to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock.
Trade names for this device include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, and Jext. The EpiPen was originally derived from the ComboPen, a product developed for the military for treating exposure to nerve agents.
Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. In chemical terms, adrenaline is one of a group of monoamines called the catecholamines. It is produced in some neurons of the central nervous system, and in the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine.
Extracts of the adrenal gland were first obtained by Polish physiologist Napoleon Cybulski in 1895. These extracts, which he called nadnerczyna, contained adrenaline and other catecholamines. Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine and his assistant Keizo Uenaka independently discovered adrenaline in 1900. In 1901, Takamine successfully isolated and purified the hormone from the adrenal glands of sheep and oxen. Adrenaline was first synthesized in the laboratory by Friedrich Stolz and Henry Drysdale Dakin, independently, in 1904.