Epinephrine is a life saver, but misusing it or not using it correctly can be as much of a threat to your life as the allergy that makes you need it in emergencies.
Vials are one option if you cannot afford the Epi-Pen and what you need to know.
1:1000 epinephrine solution contain 1mg of drug per milliliter or cc of solution. For a person weighing 30 kg, 66 pounds, or greater, give 0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 to 0.5 mL) into the anterolateral thigh about the level of the bottom of your Jeans pocket. Repeat the dose every 5 to 10 minutes, alternating left and right thighs until improvement is noted. Remember that epinephrine will cause a fast heartbeat, nervousness and, perhaps, a number of other side effects. Of course, in normal times, get the victim to modern medical care as soon as possible, especially if more than 2 doses were needed.
For children weighing less than 66 pounds, the formula for anaphylaxis is 0.01 mg/kg, so a small child weighing 10 kg, or 22 pounds, would receive 0.2 mg, that’s .2 ml if you use 1:1000 epinephrine solution. The maximum pediatric dose is up to 0.3 mg, that’s 0.3 ml of epinephrine (1:1000).
This might seem complicated, and indeed, it does take longer to deliver the product than with an autoinjector like the Epipen unless you keep some small syringes prefilled with the medication. In a 2010 article in the ASIAN PACIFIC JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY, manually prefilled syringes were recommended as a way to keep ready to use epinephrine available at all times, and it appears that the medication remains potent and uncontaminated by bacteria or fungus for 3 months. After that, it changes color and all bets are off. This also assumes that the syringes are stored at room temperature, as high temperatures will affect potency considerably over time.
In a perfect world, if you need an Epi-Pen to stave off the life-threatening effects of a severe allergy, they are readily available and affordable.
We, however, live on planet earth, which means you need to look at alternatives if you cannot afford the Epi-Pen.
To learn more about Epinephrine in vials as well as other methods of delivery, please visit Survival Medicine.