Reaffirming the importance of epinephrine in first-aid treatment for anaphylaxis—and written plans for when and how to use it--the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new, written action plan to help patients, families, schools and communities best respond to life-threatening allergic reactions.
The plan is featured in the AAP clinical report, "Guidance on Completing a Written Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan" published in the March 2017 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 13). Written emergency plans are recommended to improve outcomes for severe allergic reactions, which can include throat tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing and loss of consciousness.
Several written plans are currently in use, which differ in format and recommendations, potentially leading to confusion in using them. The new AAP plan is customizable, and the report provides guidance for its use.
Accompanying the article is a second AAP clinical report, "Epinephrine for First-Aid Management of Anaphylaxis," which stresses that epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, not medications such as antihistamines.
According to the AAP, more education about prompt epinephrine use is needed, particularly for teens who face higher rates of anaphylaxis deaths likely because they more often engage in risky behaviors like not carefully avoiding allergy triggers, and not carrying or promptly using epinephrine.