Medline ® Abstract for Reference 42
of 'Anaphylaxis: Emergency treatment'
Adequacy of the epinephrine autoinjector needle length in delivering epinephrine to the intramuscular tissues.
Song TT, Nelson MR, Chang JH, Engler RJ, Chowdhury BA
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005;94(5):539.
BACKGROUND: Epinephrine injected by an autoinjector in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh is the standard of care in the emergency self-treatment of anaphylaxis. In the United States, the autoinjector EpiPen is widely used for the self-treatment of anaphylaxis.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether EpiPen autoinjector, with a needle length of 1.43 cm, is sufficient for intramuscular delivery of epinephrine in men and women.
METHODS: The distance from skin to muscle in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh was measured in 50 men and 50 women who had undergone computed tomography of the thighs for other medical reasons. For each individual, body mass index (BMI; a measure of weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) was also calculated, and the individuals were classified as underweight (BMI,<18.5), normal (BMI, 18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI, 25.0-29.9), and obese (BMI,>or = 30.0) using standard definition.
RESULTS: In the study participants the mean +/- SD distance from skin to muscle was 0.66 +/- 0.47 cm for men and 1.48 +/- 0.72 cm for women (P<.001). One man (obese at a BMI of 42.2) and 21 women (11 obese with a mean BMI of 35.2, 6 overweight with a mean BMI of 30.1, and 4 normal with a mean BMI of 24.5) had a greater distance from skin to muscle than the EpiPen needle length of 1.43 cm.
CONCLUSION: The distance from skin to muscle for the anterolateral aspect of the thigh is higher in women compared with men. This difference suggests that EpiPen may not deliver epinephrine to the intramuscular tissue in many women.
Department of Allergy and Immunology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001, USA.