by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com
If you suffer from allergies to food, insect stings, medications or latex and are at risk of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen could save your life. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that may occur just minutes after exposure to an allergen.
In addition to causing itching and swelling of your lips and tongue, anaphylaxis may lead to tightness and closure of your throat along with difficulty breathing that becomes life threatening.
The EpiPen, which is manufactured by Mylan, contains epinephrine, a synthetic form of the hormone adrenaline that counteracts anaphylaxis. It helps to constrict your blood vessels, increasing your blood pressure and also reduces smooth muscles in your lungs to improve breathing.
It also stimulates your heart and helps reduce hives and swelling in your face and lips. People at increased risk of anaphylaxis are typically advised to have two doses of epinephrine available at all times and administer the first dose immediately upon experiencing anaphylaxis symptoms.
However, the EpiPen, which contains about $1 worth of epinephrine, has become outrageously expensive and Mylan is facing increased public scrutiny for price gouging; the list price for a two-pack of EpiPens is more than $600, up from a little over $100 in 2007.
© 2016 Dr; Joseph Mercola