Epinephrine is a synthetic form of adrenaline that is used to treat severe allergic reactions which may result from insect stings, certain foods, drugs, or other allergens. It may also be used to treat exercise-induced anaphylaxis or low blood pressure caused by septic shock.
Your body naturally releases adrenaline when under stress. This can feel like a racing heart and fast breathing. When suffering from an allergic reaction, extra adrenaline can help reduce swelling and improve breathing.
Epinephrine works by constricting blood vessels, which increases blood pressure. It also relaxes smooth muscles in the lungs and increases your heart rate.
First synthesized in 1904, epinephrine has been used for medicinal purposes since the early part of the 20th century. One of the most popular forms of administration is via an autoinjector such as an Epipen, which is now available as a generic.